Lady Gators hope early success translates into confidence

Peter Silas Pasqua
St. Amant’s Bria Turner returns for her senior season after averaging 10 points per game last year to earn all-District 6-5A honorable mention.

ST. AMANT – St. Amant has taken their bumps and bruises over the past couple of seasons but a new coach and early success has the Lady Gators brewing a different mode this year.

Kristy Englade, an assistant a year ago, takes over a St. Amant team that finished  3-21 and 0-10 in District 6-5A under Stacy Babin last season.

“It has been a pretty good transition,” Englade said. “Being a part of the staff before has been a little bit hard for me to make it more personalized but I am familiar with the girls and I think they are starting to buy into everything. I think this year is about small steps. It is going to take time for us.”

The Lady Gators only lose  two to graduation in honorable mention pick Megan Poore and Kaleigh Babin.

St. Amant does return their leading scorer, honorable mention selection Bria Turner who averaged 10 points per game, along with starters Kalyn Acy and Elena Villar. Kandace Boudreaux and Kaitlin McClure round out the starting five, while Haley Jara, Maddie Reardon, Kourtney Gautreaux, Chelsea Robertson and Kayla Ruth provide depth.

“We need some early success,” Englade said. ‘We have had a ball in their hand since early June. It is going to take some time with the inexperience that we have but we have kids filling roles. We have had problems scoring but we are more patient with the ball on offense and are taking better care of it than in the past. I think pressure gives us the heebie jeebies a little bit. It is going to take us playing more high caliber teams to overcome that.

“Our motto this year is compete, believe, achieve. The biggest thing is doing the small things to make the bigger things happen like boxing out, taking care of the basketball and having pride in themselves. Once we start meshing all of it is going to take its course.”

St. Amant opened the season at Christian Life before hosting Parkview Baptist and facing the Lady Eagles, West Feliciana, French Settlement and Redemptorist in the Red Stick Sport Tip Off Classic.

After a trip to Central, the Lady Gators participate in the Hammond Class 5A Roundup before hosting Episcopal and participating in the Donaldsonville Tournament.

Road trips to Plaquemine and Assumption sandwich the Episcopal Tourney before the Lady Gators host the St.?Amant Round Robin the week after Christmas.

A home date with Ascension Catholic wraps up the pre-district slate after traveling to Redemptorist.

“I think we have the potential to have some early success which is going to build confidence,” Englade said. “Truthfully, come January, I believe we will be able to compete with just about anybody.

“As time comes around and we have more experience under our belt, we are going to be able to compete and be in ball games. It is all about competition and being in the game instead of getting behind and trying to come back from a huge deficit. I think this year, my kids understand and have bought into the longer you have the ball in your hands, the less time they have the ball in their hands.”