Experienced Griffins have to be leaders in 09-10

Peter Silas Pasqua
Dutchtown’s Scott Burgess earned first-team all-district honors for the second consecutive season last year after averaging 13 points and seven rebounds per game on a team that advanced to the Class 5A playoffs.

GEISMAR – While Dutchtown may have surprised a few teams last year, don’t expect that to be the case this season.

The Griffins advanced to their second consecutive playoff appearance and third ever after placing fourth in district standings with 4-6 mark but fell to Carencro 59-47 in bi-district to finish 16-15 overall and still have never gotten out of the first round.

“Everyone’s expectations should be to play in the Cajun Dome but you have to make the playoffs first,” Dutchtown head coach Patrick Hill said. “We want to get our foot back in the door and see what happens after that.”

The Griffins lose first-team all-District 6-5A selection Earl Warren, honorable mention pick Eddie Lacy and role player Lyle Mock to graduation.

“We lost kids that had experience including our point guard who is basically the quarterback on your team,” Hill said. “You have to find somebody to take their place.”

However, the Griffins do return a wealth of experience in two-time first-team pick, senior Scott Burgess, who averaged 13.9 points and seven rebounds per game, along with starters Terrance Cushenberry and Jordon Biagas.

“They just have to step up and fill that void,” Hill said. “Inexperience is our weakness right now. We have experience on the floor but they don’t know what it takes to be stat leaders right now.”

Donovan McCall will take over the point for the Griffins and John Williams provides an inside presence. Dutchtown also hopes to get contributions from Devon Ester, Darian Harleaux and Jared Spriggs.

“We are not very quick and we don’t jump very high but we play together and we can score,” Hill said. “We want to run the floor and in doing that we want to make good decisions with the basketball. If it is not there, slow the tempo down and pull it out but we want to run the floor. That is what makes the game fun but only take what they give you.

“On defense, our philosophy has been man to man and hopefully we can do that a lot again this year but we will jump into zone from time to time.”

The Griffins opened the season playing in Donaldsonville’s Tiger Classic for the first time ever before facing Woodlawn in Denham Springs’ Grady Hornsby Classic.

After hosting McKinley, Dutchtown then will play in the Gold Dome Classic at St. Amant. Home games against Capitol and Broadmoor and a visit to Istrouma precedes the Spartan Classic at East Ascension.

The pre-district slate wraps up at Assumption and West Feliciana after a visit from?Plaquemine.

“A lot of it is inherited and some of it is what we scheduled,” Hill said. “I think we can be competitive with this team. We have a shot to win those games but it is about getting better and gaining experience for district. I don’t think we are playing anyone better or as good as any team in our district and that has been the case in the past. However, with the new system similar to power ratings, you have to get your share of wins.”

Parity in District 6-5A was never more evident then last season when the first boys basketball pairings based on power rating were released and five teams from the league were seeded within seven spots from each other. Joining the Griffins in the post season were state runner-up Hahnville, quarterfinalist East Ascension, regionalist St. Amant and East St. John.

“We are right there just like everybody else,” Hill said. “I think the district has a lot of parity. No one is going to be head and shoulders above everybody right now but you never know when you get to that point. I think it is going to be a competitive district just like it was in the past.

“Staying together and learning how to take care of the basketball are the keys. Defending night end and night out.”