High school basketball: Girls season preview

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The 2016-17 high school girls basketball season begins Monday. Here is a capsule look at Bossier Parish teams. Note: Only returning All-District first- or second-team players are listed.

Airline

2015-16 record: 12-14 overall; 7-5 District 1-5A

Outlook: Coach David Duhon returns two starters — Tia Lowe and Makayla Bendaw. Duhon plans to play a lot of players in a two-platoon system. Ashana Gipson, Zahria Lloyd, Keke Marshall, Keiarra McCoy, Ladayjah Means, Taisheka Porchia, Brittney Roberson, Traciona Russell, Brooklyn Sutton, Simone Thomas and Diane Wallace should all see playing time. The Lady Vikings failed to make the playoffs last season for one of the few times in Duhon’s long tenure as head coach. If the younger players develop, they could be heading back to the postseason.

Parkway

2015-16 record: 7-22 overall; 1-11 District 1-5A

Returning All-Parish: Niaya Fant, Sr. (second team)
Returning All-District 1-5A: Fant (second team)

Outlook: Fant leads three returning starters for first-year coach Gloria Williams. Senior post player Kourtney Landry and junior shooting guard Jasmine Nickolson-Edie also return. Junior forward Angie Tellis got some valuable playing time last season. Freshman Madison Collins, a standout at Elm Grove last season, will likely be a contributor. Williams, an assistant the last five seasons, expects to see progress on both ends of the court.

Haughton

2015-16 record: 10-14 overall; 5-7 District 1-5A

Returning All-Parish: Keeana Barber, Jr. (second team)

Outlook: Barber is the lone returning starter for coach Jennifer Pesnell. Haughton has six freshmen and four sophomores along with four returning varsity players. Senior Mary Gladney, junior Champagne Dennis, junior Mayghan Myers and freshman Takaiyah Sweeney should all see plenty of playing time. Sweeney was a standout at Haughton Middle last season. If the younger players can make significant contributions, the Lady Bucs could have a solid season.

Benton

2015-16 record: 26-9 overall; 9-1 District 1-4A, champion

Returning All-Parish: Emily Ward, So. (first team)
Returning All-District 1-4A: Ward (first team)

Outlook: The 5-11 Ward, who averaged 13.1 points and 8.0 rebounds, is the lone returning starter for a team that lost to eventual state runner-up Rayne in the second round of the playoffs. All-Parish MVP Brandi Harris will be hard to replace along with the other seniors. The Lady Tigers have no projected senior starters. Ward, freshmen Qua Chambers and Dana Wainwright, and sophomore Abbie Wynn are projected starters along with either sophomore Morgan Bradford or junior Kaitlin Bratten. Wynn got a lot of playing time of the bench last season. Chambers led Benton Middle to the parish eighth-grade title last season. It may take some time for the newcomers to develop and get used to the pace of high school ball, but the potential is there for another outstanding season.

Bossier

2015-16 record: 22-7 overall; 8-2 District 1-4A, runner-up

Returning All-Parish: Destiny Thomas, Jr. (second team)
Returning All-District 1-4A: Thomas (second team)

Outlook: Junior Draunatika Thomas, a first-team All-Parish selection last season at Plain Dealing, has transferred to Bossier. Thomas, who has been playing high school ball since the seventh grade, averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds last season. Destiny Thomas and junior guard Chloe Walker are returning starters for second-year coach DeShawn Williams, whose team lost to St. Thomas More in the second round of the playoffs last season. Junior forward Navia Johnson also started a few games last season. Mai Francis is a transfer from Texas who will be a contributor. Despite losing two first-team All-Parish players, the Lady Kats have the potential to contend for the 1-4A title again.

Plain Dealing

2015-16 record: 22-8 overall; 12-2 District 1-1A. runner-up


Returning All-Parish: Teauna Perry, Jr. (second team)
Returning All-District 1-1A: Perry (first team); Hershey Stumon, Jr. (second team)

Outlook: Coach Shelia Bryant-Dupree lost veteran forward Draunatika Thomas, a first-team All-Parish selection, to Bossier. But the Lady Lions return Perry, Stumon and Dra Briggs from a team that lost to Merryville in the second round of the Class 1A playoffs. Perry is one of the top athletes in the parish. LaTerrica Stewart and Niarelle Scott should round out the starting lineup. The Lady Lions’ only district losses were to state champion Arcadia last season. The two teams should again battle it out for the district title.