Bucket list: Brister checking off achievements in final season
LAKE ARTHUR — A busy senior season for Lake Arthur’s Deonna Brister has included a top-five finish at the state cross country championship meet, signing a letter of intent to play college basketball at Nicholls State and moving atop the school’s career rebounding list.
Another to-do item could be checked off tonight, when the Tigers can clinch a share of the District 6-2A championship with a home win over Lafayette Christian Academy (16-5, 4-1), the defending district champion. The Knights have played in four consecutive state championship games, winning the first three.
Lake Arthur won the season’s first meeting 58-48 on Jan. 15.
Last Friday, Brister became the school’s rebounding leader. She is averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds per game.
“It was shocking because didn’t even know I was anywhere near it,” Brister said of the rebounds record. “It made me see that I want more. The state championship is the one that I want.”
The Tigers are 25-3, including 5-0 in district play. Brister said she’s hoping for a return to the state tournament, where the Tigers lost to eventual champion Doyle in the semifinal round last season.
“It was so different, there were so many more people there and the crowd was so loud,” she said of the state tournament atmosphere.
Brister said balance is one of the team’s biggest strengths.
“You can’t guard or stop one person,” she said. “The first six can all score. We can run and push the ball.”
Fellow seniors Brooke Daboval and Katherine Leonards are integral parts of the Tigers attack.
“Brooke is our point guard,” Brister said. “She can shoot and handles the ball. Katherine is an amazing shooter. She can kick it inside, find the open man and has great court vision.”
As a leader, Brister makes sure her teammates remain upbeat.
“If they are down on themselves after a turnover or missed shot, it is not good for us,” she said. “I always try to pick them up.”
Brister said maturity and consistency are trademarks of the team.
“We work hard every day; there are no days off,” she said. “Whenever we go into big games, we might go a little crazy in the first quarter, but then we’ll calm down and just play.”
Competitiveness has always been a part of Brister’s personality.
“When I started playing in Little Dribblers, I liked basketball but wasn’t good at it,” she said. “I worked at it. I’ve always been a competitor and I like to win.”
Tigers head coach Vickie Sketoe said Brister has a winning attitude.
“She will do whatever needs to be done,” Sketoe said. “She can play guard, she can go inside, she can take responsibility when she needs to. She leads by example and her work ethic helps the others see how they need to work.
“She is an overall great kid, very respectful with a great sense of humor.”
Kirk Meche / Special to the Amer