Creating Tradition: Lions looking to build on playoff big win

Rodrick Anderson

There is not much in the way of history for the Vinton girls basketball program, so first-year head coach Phillip Ebarb decided the Lions needed to write their own.

No. 27 Vinton pulled a huge upset in the bidistrict round, beating No. 6 Franklin for its first playoff win in more than four decades.

“We have had great players, but we have never had a winning tradition,” said Ebarb, a Vinton native, who returned to coaching after a more than two-decade absence. “It think it is important to believe in one another and start a tradition.

“I think we are going to be relevant for a while. We are going in confident and believing that we can win. Nobody is going to walk in and give it to you. We are going to take it.”

The Lions (9-11), who have won five of their last seven games, host No. 11 Springfield (16-9) at 6 p.m. today in the regional round of the Class 2A playoffs.

Vinton looks to get a big boost from a loyal home crowd.

“Having that home court is a big deal,” Ebarb said. “Our fans are top notch.

“If we can play hard and clean like we did last week, they better watch out. I think we have a good shot. I think we are going to give them a run. I think we match up well. We have played a lot of really good teams, and I think that is going to make a difference.”

The Lions have just one senior in guard Miah Courvelle, plus a junior center in Mackenzie Joseph that is getting a lot attention from colleges.

“I have a great group of girls,” Ebarb said. “I have some great leaders.

“I have a senior guard (Mya Courvelle) that has been here a long time and one of the best players (Mackenzie Joseph) in the state of Louisiana in my opinion. Miah is tenacious. She will fight you. She brings a fire. We have had to reel it in a little bit. You can play aggressive and full out but in control. The last six games she has really reeled it and played better.”

Also hosting regional playoff games today are Class 2A No. 7 Rosepine, Class 3A No. 6 Jennings and No. 6 Elton in Class 1A. Jennings hosts No. 11 Union Parish at 5:30 p.m., looking to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since the 2010-2011 season. Rosepine takes on No. 10 Many at 6 p.m. with a opportunity to reach the quarterfinals for the second time in four seasons.

Elton plays No. 11 Delhi at 5 p.m. Delhi knocked the Indians out in the quarterfinals last season.Vinton senior guard Miah Courvelle works the ball around the perimeter during a recent game. Vinton hosts Springfield tonight in the regional round of the Class 2A playoffs.

Rodrick Anderson / American Press

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