Big talent comes from small schools
Jinks, Edwards named MVPs
There was a lot of local flavor in Burton Coliseum last month at the state championship basketball tournaments, with a large contingent of area high school teams delivering stellar individual performances, dramatic games and a pair of state championships.
Area small schools led the way with Pitkin’s Garrett Edwards ending a brilliant career with an outstanding performance in the Tigers’ semifinal loss to Simsboro, and Rylee Jinks leading Fairview to its 12th state championship and first since 2014.
Edwards and Jinks are the Most Valuable Players on this year’s American Press All-Southwest Louisiana Small Schools basketball teams.
Edwards, a senior, averaged 32 points and 13 rebounds per game, leading the Tigers to the semifinals for the second time in three years. He lit up two-time defending state champion Simsboro for 36 points, ending his career with 4,103 points. He is an LSU baseball signee.
Jinks, a junior, averaged 14 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and five steals per game, In a semifinal round win over Florien, Jinks narrowly missed a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds, 9.0 assists and 7.0 steals.
Coach of the Year on the boys team is Grand Lake’s Mark Caldwell, who guided the Hornets to a 31-2 record, the outright District 4-1A championship and the school’s first trip to the semifinals, where they lost a thrilling game to Lincoln Prep.
Hathaway’s Cortnee Young is the girls Coach of the Year after leading a young Bruins team to the District 7-B championship and Class B state championship game, where the Bruins lost to Fairview, her former high school.
Joining Edwards on the first team are Grand Lake’s Kael Delcambre (17.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.5 apg), Hamilton Christian’s Michael Thomas (16.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 6.5 apg), Pickering’s DeShawn Jackson (28.9 ppg, 10 rpg) and Lake Arthur’s Torell Levias (18 ppg, 14 rpg).
On the second team are Vinton’s Drew Heinen 22.5 ppg), Fairview’s Ethan Williams (18 ppg, 10 rpg), Grand Lake’s Luke McCardle (12 ppg, 5 apg), Hamilton’s Adrian Brown (17.4 ppg) and Hathaway’s Colby Augustine (21.5 ppg).
The girls first team features Jinks, Lake Arthur’s Deonna Brister (23 ppg, 10 rpg), Elton’s Vici Woods (17 ppg, 18 rpg), Merryville’s Maddie Mahfouz (21.1 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 5.8 apg) and Lacassine’s Vanessa Duhe (11.7 ppg, 11.2 rpg).
On the second team are Kinder’s Brooklyn Fontenot (21.8 ppg, 9 rpg), Reeves’ Claire Dunahoo (17.1 ppg), Johnson Bayou’s Gracie Young (23.5 ppg), Fairview’s Maggie Manuel (20.8 ppg, 11.1 rpg) and Hathaway’s Chloey Guidry (16 ppg).