Darius Young continues Natchitoches Central's tradition of basketball success

LaMar Gafford
Alexandria Town Talk

LAKE CHARLES — Spending four seasons as a Natchitoches Central Chief isn't for everyone, but that's part of what makes the boys basketball program great.

Darius Young is continuing that legacy. 

The 6-foot-5 senior matched his averages of 21 points and 12 rebounds Wednesday in the Chiefs' 58-48 win over Hahnville in the Class 5A semifinals — its first semifinal win since winning the 5A championship in 2016.

CHIEFS BACK IN TITLE GAME:Natchitoches Central wards off Hahnville in Class 5A semis

Young is the focal point of the offense leading into the championship game against Zachary at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Natchitoches Central senior Darius Young (12) powers his way down the lane against Hahnville in the Class 5A semifinals Wednesday.

"That's what we expect from him," Chiefs coach Kolton Sepulvado said. "He's a senior and it's like we tell our seniors, 'If you can last four years in this program, you gotta be pretty tough, because you would have found something else to do.' All our seniors have had great years all year long. They set such great examples."

Young is one of five seniors on the Chiefs and has steadily improved since his freshman year.

Last season, he broke through to earn a spot on the All-District 1-5A team as an honorable mention, but the Chiefs were upset by H.L. Bourgeois in the regional round as the No. 1 seed.

CENLA'S TOP TEN:Anacoco, Natchitoches Central lead Cenla's boys basketball top 10 into playoffs

That defeat made him want to work harder during the offseason and it paid off with NCHS (23-1) regaining the No. 1 seed.

"That's what I like about them, they'll push you hard," Young said. "I've been having a lot of stuff going on, but they keep me on track. When we came down here before, we lost in the semifinals my freshman year. But that taught me a lesson that I have to keep it up."

Natchitoches Central Darius Young (12) goes for a layup against Tioga during the  Hixson Auto Invitational at Alexandria Senior High.

Another thing that has impressed Sepulvado over the last four years has been Young's growth from an eager freshman to the team's leader.

"The growth and maturity that he has shown in four years (says a lot)," Sepulvado said. "Before he got to Central, he had people tell him, 'I don't know if you can play at Natchitoches Central. I don't know if you can handle playing at Natchitoches Central,' but he's come in, worked hard and trusted us. He knows that we're going to work for him just like he works for us."

BOYS SUPER SIX:Meet the Town Talk's boys basketball Super Six for Rapides Parish, Cenla

The hard work paid off as he was selected to play in the LHSCA All-Star Game on  March 20, but he is still looking to win a state championship.

"We are going to push him and we are going to continue to push him," Sepulvado said. "I'm so proud of how far he's come along in four years as a young man. He's going to be a great older man one day."