Hebert sees potential for 2020 Eagles boys basketball
Experience from four seniors and the progress of younger players has given St. John boys basketball coach Franky Hebert a sense of optimism in the early weeks of 2020.
The Eagles improved 7-8 for the season after a 52-42 win over Opelousas-based Westminster Academy in the Teurlings Catholic Tournament in Lafayette, and Hebert believes his team could make significant strides before the start of District 8-1A action.
A crop of seniors including Connor Barbee, Isaiah Jones, Austin Thomas, Coby Lockett, and Jacob Schlatre (recipient of last year's Coach's Award) have worked themselves into the role of leaders on the squad.
Barbee has led the pack with an average of 18 points per game, while Jones has been a standout on defense.
"They're doing their jobs, and doing them well," Hebert said. "All four are very reliable leaders for our team."
Other standouts include juniors Galvin Martin, Keithan Ranel, Christopher Holmes, Keithan Ranel, and Troy Washington. Additional players on the roster included Peter Anderson, Zachary Dorsey, Adam Theriot, Jaquan Jones, Joseph Schlatre, and Ryan Clouatre.
The Eagles need to make the most of the non-district slate to prime themselves for the District 8-1A rigors.
The district includes perennial state contenders East Iberville and White Castle, the latter of which has remained a postseason mainstay since the mid-1970s.
"It's one of the toughest districts in the state, bar none," Hebert said. "You always have White Castle as the state title favorite, and East Iberville is always good and disciplined with what they do. You also have Ascension Catholic in the top 10, and they're doing really well this year."
The format for district action has moved from the traditional two games per district season to one, which makes each contest that much more crucial.
Judging by the performance of his team, St. John could make a stronger run this season.
"We're trying to space out our games and give it our best shot every time," he said.
Hebert hopes his team can avoid a repeat of the scenario last year, when they entered post-season action as a No. 7 seed, but drew Southern Lab and lost 55-36 in the first round.
The Eagles face a tough test on the road Friday when they visit Episcopal (11-3). St. John entertains Ascension Catholic on Tuesday, Jan. 21.