Saturday’s Louisiana High School Coaches Association All-Star basketball games at Hirsch Coliseum will have a strong Bossier Parish flavor.
It starts with the Plain Dealing High School brother-sister coaching duo of Shelia Bryant-Dupree and David Bryant. Bryant-Dupree is the head coach of the girls West squad, and Bryant is an assistant on the boys West team.
Three players from Bossier Parish schools were listed on the latest West team rosters on the LHSAA website — Parkway forward Artavious Lynn, Benton forward Gabby Jackson and Airline guard Kei McCoy.
Only seniors are eligible to compete. The girls game is at 1 p.m. with the boys immediately following.
Bryant and Bryant-Dupree have a combined 42 years of coaching experience, but they have only been together at Plain Dealing for eight years.
During Bryant-Dupree’s 16-year tenure, the Lady Lions have won two Class 1A state titles. Bryant, who came to Plain Dealing from Woodlawn, has also had a lot of success with several district titles and deep runs in the playoffs.
But this is the first time either has coached in an All-Star game. And it’s a safe bet that they are the first brother-sister duo to coach in the same year.
“That makes it even more special,” Bryant-Dupree said. “We get to kind of hang out together for that All-Star weekend so it’s nice.”
Both consider it a great honor to be selected to coach in the games.
“From my understanding they have a committee and the committee comes together and I guess they kind of just look at the various coaches in the area and they select one each year,” Bryant-Dupree said. “I’ve probably been floating on the radar a little bit and it finally became my time.”
Bryant said Airline head boys coach Chris White, the president of the Louisiana High School Basketball Coaches Association, approached him about being an assistant on the West team.
“He told me, ‘David, it’s been long overdue. Would you be the assistant this year and head coach next year?’ I just told him thanks for considering me. I didn’t know he was that serious about it and he told me he was serious about doing it. I really appreciate Chris feeling that way about me and the rest of the coaches in the association also.
“They could’ve gotten a whole lot of guys instead of me. It’s just an honor to be considered.”
Bryant-Dupree is excited about having the chance to work with some of the area and state’s top players.
“It’s just going to be nice to interact with the group of girls,” she said. “I’m very excited and I feel it’s such an honor that my peers would think enough of me to select me to coach this team.”
When Bryant was at Woodlawn, he and his sister were rivals. He’s glad they are now at the same school where their father was a coach for many years.
“It used to be a big rivalry with each other when playing her when I was at Woodlawn and she was at Plain Dealing,” he said. “Now God moved us where we’re able to be at home together so it’s been great.”
Needless to say, the two help each other out. Bryant-Dupree said her brother is a great sounding board. He also is able to work with the girls team in P.E.
“I’m so proud of my brother,” Bryant-Dupree said. “He’s very knowledgeable about basketball so I’ve been able to lean and depend on him for a lot of information.
“We just have such a good working relationship. Then it’s a little bit better because we’re brother and sister and I’m able to say things to him that I might not be able to say to somebody else and vice versa so it works out good. When I’m doing something that’s not quite right he doesn’t mind telling me. and the same thing with him, so it works out good.”
Bryant said the entire town of Plain Dealing is like one big family.
“Everyone knows everyone,” he said. “Like years ago a lot of kids I watched grow up and the kids I have now I watched their parents grow up when I was 18 of 19 years old. It’s a unique situation I have and with my sister also that makes it much easier. It’s been a great experience.”
— Other area players on the boys West roster include Byrd’s Chad Lott, North Caddo’s Ka’davion Evans, Arcadia’s Eric Brown Jr., Lakeview’s Tay Hardy and Natchitoches Central’s Danny Cohen.
Ashlyn Jacobs, the MVP of the Doc Edwards Invitational, is on the West girls team. Mansfield coach Kendra Neal, who led the Lady Wolverines to a Class 3A runner-up finish, is an assistant to Bryant-Dupree.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org