Much improved Lady Tigers nearing district play

A new face is roaming the sidelines leading Morgan City’s girls basketball team this season.

Duriel Singleton has led the team to a 7-5 record in his first year with the team and the improvement made over the summer has been evident.

Of the five losses the Lady Tigers have endured, three of them came against arguably the best Class 1A team in the state — neighboring Central Catholic.

The only other losses also came against St. Mary Parish opponents with West St. Mary beating MCHS in the Hanson Memorial tournament and Patterson beat them by seven recently.

MCHS plays two more games before starting District 8-4A play at home on Jan. 13 against Ellender.

The district slate is brutal with three teams that could make noise in the playoffs. If the Lady Tigers can pick up an upset or two over the last stretch of the season they could make a case for a spot in the playoffs.

“It’s pretty hard to say because we’re real young,” Singleton said. “We’re learning every game. I want to say we’ll make the playoffs, but I don’t want to jinx them.”

MCHS is currently No. 31 in the Class 4A power rankings while district foes Assumption (No. 13), Vandebilt Catholic (No. 8) and Ellender (No. 19) are all highly ranked.

“The district is going to be tough as usual,” Singleton said, “when you have Vandebilt, Assumption and Ellender in your district. That’s the only way we get in the playoffs is to win some of those games, because those teams are going to win a lot of games and that will boost us up. They’re real good squads.”

With just two seniors on the team, the Lady Tigers are a work in progress, but with a freshman leading the team in scoring so far, the future is promising.

“We’re young. Mostly it’s freshmen and sophomores,” Singleton said. “We have two seniors, one that starts in Tae’lor Hawkins. She keeps us together and Daniesha Hayes, she comes off the bench and gives us good minutes and grabs rebounds. Our leading scorer is a freshman, Casey Chenevert; our second-leading scorer is May Grogan. She grabs a lot of rebounds for us. She’s a playmaker.”

The Lady Tigers haven’t made the playoffs since 2009 and they may be a long shot to make the field this season, but the learning process will continue.

At this point, effort is all the first-year coach is asking for.

“We’re learning, so right now we just need to go out and play hard and stay tough until the buzzer sounds,” Singleton said.

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