They grow up fast: Simon wakes up to find she’s Lady K’s veteran leader

Rodrick Anderson

Over the last four seasons, South Beauregard’s Dayla Simon has learned the ropes and played a key role in two runs to the state basketball tournament while looking to older, more experienced teammates for guidance.

This offseason she is preparing for her chance to lead as the Lady K’s lone senior heading into the 2021-2022 season.

“It has been tough,” Simon said. “It has been a great learning experience, being thrown into it fast being with all of the older kids. Now I am the older kid.

“I love all the babies coming up. They teach me more than I think I teach them. Just watching them grow is great.”

Slashing her way to the basket last season, the 5-foot-5 guard averaged 13 points a game while leading the Lady K’s to the Class 3A semifinals and earning American Press All-Southwest Louisiana Big Schools first-team honors. She scored 17 points in the Lady K’s 58-52 loss to Northwest in the semifinals.

She has been looking to hone her abilities to maybe catch the eye of college recruiters.

“I have been doing private lessons, shooting, more driving and defensive drills,” Simon said. “We have been working on a lot.

“I am really trying to focus on getting my shots. Colleges are looking for shooters, so I have to get my shot better from the outside. I just have to get the outside going.”

Simon didn’t take the normal route of developing at the junior varsity level first. She quickly moved up to varsity as an eighth-grader. Head coach Susan Johnson said it was hard to ignore her no-fear approach to the game.

“She has always been thrown into the big dogs to play varsity,” Johnson said. “I pulled her up when Coach (Chris) Greene was here and I was just an assistant. She was the best one that can attack the rim. She wasn’t scared. She has never been scared to go out and battle against Godzilla or whoever. She is not scared.”

Johnson said Simon didn’t have much of a choice when it came to leadership, but she is the right person for the job.

“I put that role on her,” Johnson said. “She works hard. She is learning how to be a leader.”

“She is a quiet leader, though, but she can shoot, she can get to the rim, she can guard. She is just an all-around good basketball player. She is determined.”

Simon said this season’s team will thrive on its defense and speed.

“Our defense is what does it for us,” Simon said. “We are a fast group. We are smart with the ball. We are going to have a strong, fast group. I am motivated to win.”

””

Dayla Simon, who has been playing varsity basketball since she was in eighth grade, will be South Beauregard’s lone senior this season and the Lady K’s team leader.

Rodrick Anderson / American Press

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