Morgan City High School's Jared Singleton
(The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)
Tigers rebuilding in 2018-19 under Hartman
After coming in this season to lead the Morgan City High School Tigers following one of its most successful seasons in recent years, first-year boys basketball coach Herman Hartman Jr. said he is focused on the present of the program and the future, not the past.
“I’m not holding last year against them or for them,” Hartman said early this season. “This is a new day, a new season, new coach, new philosophies, new system, so we’re growing and we’re going through the growing pains as we get to know each other and building on the foundation that I’ve laid down.”
A year ago, Morgan City finished 25-7 with a co-District 7-4A championship. The Tigers advanced to the second round of the postseason, falling to Edna Karr in Coach Terence McCutcheon’s lone season leading the squad.
While the Tigers lost multiple seniors from that squad, including Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 4A All-State honorable mention selections Taaj Daniels and Tywaun Walker (a Northern New Mexico College signee), the Tigers do return some talent this year.
Senior Jared Singleton was a second-team all-district selection, while sophomore forward Devonta Grogan was named to the All-Defensive Team.
Singleton is joined by fellow seniors Deondre Grogan and Kerwin Francois.
Hartman, a 1998 Morgan City High School graduate, has the Tigers off to a 6-2 mark in his first high school head coaching job. The Tigers have won four straight, heading into Friday’s semifinal contest at H.L. Bourgeois’ Gene Simmons Memorial Tournament.
Previously, Hartman coached on the middle school level where he said he had success at Paul Breaux Middle School in Lafayette.
“I’m just coming in with the knowledge that I have as a teacher and from growing up in the Morgan City High School basketball program,” he said.
His father, Herman Hartman Sr., was head basketball coach at both Morgan City High School and coached the women’s basketball team at Southern University.
As for his philosophy, Hartman said he defense would be key for Morgan City.
“Defense is definitely our main ingredient,” he said. “We have to play defense. I don’t believe in point matching. You got to stop the other team from scoring, but we also have to put the ball in the basket.”
Hartman said the Tigers do have some players who can score, though.
Hartman said while the Tigers are athletic, they are young and rebuilding.
“We only have three seniors,” he said. “The rest are juniors, sophomores and freshmen. … I believe we have a great group of kids, and like I said, we’re building on speed and on defense, and we’ll go from there.”
Singleton and Francois are the team’s shooting guards, and Nylan Francois is the team’s point guard this year.
Deondre Grogan is positioned at small forward, and Tyland Boatman is the team’s center.
Hartman said Devonta Grogan would play at power forward and center, too.
Two additions to this year’s squad who played in 2016 but not last year are shooting guard Derwin Canty and small forward/shooting guard Leo Garrett.
“Those are guys who will be key contributors,” Hartman said.
The Tigers’ schedule features notable games against at Division IV quarterfinalist Central Catholic on Dec. 18, home contests against Class 4A semifinalist Westgate on Dec. 28, Class 1A state champion White Castle on Jan. 3 and Class 5A quarterfinalist New Iberia Jan. 8 and an away game at defending Class 3A state champion Madison Prep Jan. 11.
Following H.L. Bourgeois’ tournament this weekend, Morgan City also will compete in New Iberia’s tournament next week.
“From knowing what I know and looking at the schedule, there’s some tough competition on the schedule,” Hartman said. “Each game is going to be a test that we will have to face, but we’ll take it one game at a time.”
In District 7-4A action, Morgan City will face South Terrebonne, Assumption, Ellender, Vandebilt Catholic and South Lafourche.
“As far as the district, I know that Assumption and Ellender are always top teams. E.D. White is always a good team that’s disciplined. Vandebilt, all of these teams are good teams, and disciplined.”