It looks to be another competitive season for Dutchtown, East Ascension and St. Amant as they compete against one another for the District 5-5 championship.

Just as volleyball and football brace for the playoffs, high-school basketball is set to return within the next few weeks for teams across the state.

It looks to be another competitive season for Dutchtown, East Ascension and St. Amant as they compete against one another for the District 5-5 championship.

Dutchtown was the parish 5-5A squad that had the most success last season as they reached the state quarterfinals for the first time in five years.

However, the two driving forces behind that lengthy playoff run are now gone with the graduation of both Nick Caldwell and Gary Smith. The duo made first-team all-district for the past two seasons and were also the team's top two scorers for the past two years.

This season, the Griffins will return three starters. All three players are guards.

Troy Thomas will return at point guard for Dutchtown, and Derrick Youngblood will be back to provide his 3-point shooting ability.

Ryan Bromfield emerged as another scoring option last season. Bromfield has the length to also rebound and score in the paint.

St. Amant will lose a four-year all-district player in guard K.J. Franklin. They will also be without Tshon Daley, who provided great leadership, as well as scoring off of the bench.

But fortunately for the Gators, they will bring back virtually everyone else from a team that won 21 games and hosted a first-round playoff matchup.

Forward Destin Barker returns as a first-team all-district performer.

"I think Destin Barker is going to have a breakout year on both sides of the floor," St. Amant head coach Travis Uzee said. "He can score at all levels and is a very strong finisher at the rim. He has improved defensively and will be very tough at the 3-point line and driving to the basket."

Uzee also expects guard Gavin Harris to have a big year, along with Connor Adams, who is one of their top 3-point shooters.

Kenyon Hebert, Tyrone Johnson and Javin Augilllard will all be key senior leaders for the Gators.

"We have five seniors and one junior who have a ton of experience from winning 21 games last year," Uzee said. "Our strength is the desire this group has to have a great season. They are very motivated, and our experience and leadership will carry this team wherever we end up."

East Ascension is another squad that returns most of their players from last year. That includes some first-team all-district stars in Camryn Carter, Hobert Grayson and Cameron Dunbar.

Dunbar was last season's District 5-5A Defensive Player of the Year.

Tyler Turner takes over as the Spartans' full-time head coach, after having the interim job when Barry Whittington left during the middle of last year to become the Assistant Principal at Dutchtown.

Turner ended up leading East Ascension to the second round of the playoffs.

In addition to Carter, Grayson and Dunbar, Turner said that he thinks sophomore guard Keith Thomas could have a breakout season as a first-year starter.

Turner said that he's still not sure if some of the football players will be playing basketball this season. Last year, Steven McBride and Javon Carter were key contributors for the Spartans.

Overall, Turner said that he thinks the strength of his team will be their shooting ability.

"This year's team will be interesting," Turner said. "We have many pieces that we have to fit together like a puzzle, but all of the players compliment each other. It will be a tough season with all the competition on the schedule. We just have to take it one day at a time."