How Natchitoches Central boys basketball didn't miss a beat with Kolton Sepulvado as coach
LAKE CHARLES — Kolton Sepulvado couldn’t have mapped out how successful his first season as boys basketball coach at Natchitoches Central would be.
The former assistant led the Chiefs to a 23-2 record and despite losing 63-57 to Zachary in the Class 5A championship game Saturday, he knows there's more to come.
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“I’m beyond proud of my guys,” Sepulvado said. “There’s so many teams that would kill to be in the position that we’re in tonight. Our guys fought hard. We always talk about a 32-minute fight every single night and they did that.”
Sepulvado had worked as a tireless assistant for 11 years under former coach Micah Coleman and while he had opportunities to go elsewhere, he remained at NCHS and waited for the right job to come along.
That came in September when Coleman stepped down to become an assistant principal at the school — elevating Sepulvad.
Even though Coleman would remain as an assistant to keep the coaching staff intact, Sepulvado had the role to lead one of more successful programs in Louisiana over the last 15 years. During that stretch, the Chiefs won two titles, made five trips to the Top 28, earned six district titles and sent 36 players to play college basketball.
“Every success that I have in this game, it will be strictly because of Micah Coleman,” Sepulvado said. “He’s a guy I’ve been with since I was 19 years old, so we’ve been together for a while. I worked with the best every single day. I can’t begin to explain the impact he’s had on my life, the way that I’ve been able to see how everything should be done the correct way and the right way.”
Natchitoches Central did not miss a beat as it coasted to a 19-1 record during the regular season, won the District 1-5A title and earned the No. 1 seed in Class 5A for the second straight season.
Unlike last season when Natchitoches Central lost to H.L. Bourgeois in the regional round, the Chiefs made it to Marsh Madness, defeating Hahnville in the Class 5A semifinals and was just shy of beating Zachary.
Senior Darius Young posted 16 points and seven rebounds against the Broncos, while senior Sean Lacour added 15 points and three assists.
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“We had a great year. We lost four starters from last year’s team and we had a lot of guys that didn’t have a ton of experience in these moments,” Sepulvado said. “If you would have told us after we lost to H.L. Bourgeois that we’d be in the state championship game, I would have told you, ‘I don’t know what you’re smoking, but you might need to stop,’ but it’s strictly credit to every guy in that locker room. They came in and worked every single day.”
The Chiefs will lose five seniors, but they will return junior Dalyn Davis, a starter, and Justin Aaron will have a new role after being successful option off the bench.
“Those juniors, sophomores and freshmen, they know they have a big standard to live up to,” Sepulvado said. “These guys got us to the very last game of the season and got us right there. They know they have to go to work. What’s great about them is that they’ve witnessed seniors every single day that have come in and worked. They see what it takes to get to this point, but they have to understand that they have to do a little bit more to win this last game.”