Role change: Shaw moves from follower to leader

Warren Arceneaux

After playing a supporting role for the past three years, LaGrange senior forward McKenzie Shaw is ready to take a leading role as the Gators seek a third consecutive Class 4A state championship.

Three members of last year’s team — Jeriah Warren (Florida), Aasia Sam (Louisiana-Monroe) and Deja Tanks (LSU-Eunice) departed for college.

Shaw’s biggest impact the past two seasons has been on the defensive end, where she used size to block shots and rebound but also displayed the agility to guard smaller players on the perimeter. She averaged 8.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game last season.

Now she is working to round out her game on the offensive end and step into a leadership role.

“My goal for this year is to improve as both an individual and team player,” she said. “Also, to continue to lead my team with a positive attitude. This summer I’m working on improving my ballhandling skills, creating a shot for myself and others and playing more of the wing position.

“I think my strengths are inside scoring, mid-range shots, and defensive awareness.”

Shaw said the Gators have enough talent to keep their run of success going.

“We have Keniya Jerro, Katelynn Wilson, Ala’jsa Walker, Sydney Golden, Ragyn Griffin, Kylei Leblanc, Kiera Celestine, and a few incoming freshmen,” she said. “The younger girls do well at playing their roles, having great energy and playing hard. This season our strong suit will be defense. We are getting better at being more disciplined and aware.”

Shaw said she wants to pass on lessons learned from former teammates.

“I learned from the older girls that hard work always pays off and how to lead by example,” she said. “They also taught me many important life lessons outside of basketball.”

Gators head coach La’Keem Holmes is stressing to Shaw that she sets the tone for the rest of the team.

“The most important thing I’ve learned from Coach Holmes is to keep the same energy regardless of what’s going on around basketball and to remember that my team feeds off of my energy,” Shaw said. “Also to concentrate on being the best me and that you have to put in the work to get the results you want.”

””

It’s senior forward McKenzie Shaw’s turn to take leadership of the LaGrange Gators and point them to a third consecutive state championship.

Rick Hickman / American Press

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