LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Many young athletes were on the big stage last week. Four girls’ basketball teams from Southwest Louisiana brought home state titles.
One of the teams is the St. Louis Lady Saints who set out for a winning season even though they lost their court to the hurricanes this past year.
Many Lake Area teams were against the odds this season. Even with the challenges thrown their way, the Lady Saints secured a Division II State Championship title.
“It was crazy and it really was a reality check. I looked at everybody like we won,” said sophomore Paris Guillory.
This was the team’s third consecutive year playing in the state championship game, but they didn’t win the previous two years.
“These kids were still hungry from the previous two years and it was our duty. It was our responsibility to have these kids make sure they prepare for anything that was thrown at them. A lot was thrown at these young kids this year,” said St. Louis Girls Basketball Coach Tony Johnson.
Guillory said that after the hurricanes, much of St. Louis High School was damaged, including their court.
“A lot went into it, finding different locations to practice because we don’t have a gym,” Guillory said.
“It was right after school go, hurry up, get tape, get dressed to drive to another gym,” said Junior Myca Trail.
Trail said despite not having a home gym, the team won 30 out of the 31 games they played on the road, and it all came down to the amount of work they put in.
“The hard practices, the one’s where we just wanted to stop and drop to the floor and the ones where we were outside running on the track like we were a track team, and sweating and like the tears and hard work put into it to lead up to it, you know having that stamina for the championship game,” Trail said.
“[Members of the team may think] yeah he might push us a whole lot, but at the end of the tunnel, guess what? That light came on real bright at the end of that tunnel,” Johnson said.
Johnson has been the coach at St. Louis for the past 27 years and said that every year he tries to make sure his athletes learn skills and life lessons to take with them off the court.
“You know playing sports, it’ll teach you a lot about life, and these kids, we’re giving these kids life lessons, and that’s what we are so proud of,” Johnson said.
Trail said she’ll never forget the “three H’s” Coach Johnson taught her.
“Stay humble. Stay hungry, and play honest,” Trail said.
There are no seniors on the Lady Saints championship team, so they are hoping to repeat the title again next year.
“We’re doing really good as young people right now, so next year when they are seniors and I’m a junior, we should be doing the same exact think we’ve done this year,” Guillory said.