Lady Spartan hoops trio signs with colleges

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
East Ascension's Alynzia Morris (left), Diniaa McZeal (middle) and Tristen Washington (right) signed with colleges. Photo provided.

The journey is just getting started for three of the most successful girl’s basketball players in East Ascension history.

On Friday night, family, friends, teammates and coaches gathered in the school cafeteria to celebrate the beginning of the next phase in the careers of three special athletes.

Tristen Washington, Diniaa McZeal and Alynzia Morris all signed their letters of intent to continue their basketball careers at the next level. Washington signed with Northwestern State, McZeal signed with Dillard University and Morris signed with Chattanooga State Community College.

These three players were so instrumental in the Lady Spartans’ greatest three-year stretch in school history. Those memorable three seasons culminated in East Ascension winning its first ever girl’s basketball state title in 2018.

The program really took off in 2017, when the trio became starters are sophomores.

That year, East Ascension went 23-1 during the regular season. This included a 22-game winning streak heading into the playoffs. The Lady Spartans went undefeated in District 5-5 play, en route to winning a district title.

East Ascension headed into the Class 5A playoffs as the second seed, but they were upset in the second round.

All three players made first-team All-District 5-5A. Morris was named both the district MVP and the Ascension Parish MVP.

Washington was named the Ascension Parish Defensive MVP.

Unfortunately for Morris, she was sidelined with injuries for much of the 2018 season. In fact, she was forced to miss the entire postseason.

However, Washington and McZeal stepped up in her absence and helped lead the Lady Spartans to a 19-2 regular season.

In the postseason, East Ascension reached the state semifinals in Alexandria. It was the first time the program had advanced that far in 25 years.

They crushed Zachary in the semifinal game to reach the Class 5A finals. The Lady Spartans won their first four playoff contests by a combined margin of 63 points.

They went on to beat Natchitoches Central to claim the program’s first ever state championship.

Washington was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player. She also made first-team all-district and All-Parish.

McZeal was the district MVP and the Ascension Parish MVP.

This past season, the trio was back at it. They led the Lady Spartans to a 21-2 regular season that culminated in another undefeated championship run in District 5-5A.

They eventually reached the state semifinals for a second straight season, before losing to eventual champion Captain Shreve.

All three players earned all-district and All-Parish honors. For the second straight season, McZeal was named both the district and Parish MVP.

In their three seasons as starters, East Ascension went an amazing 72-7.