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Doyle vs St Martin girls Sam White

Doyle coach Sam White on winning a district championship: “We always want to win one. We feel like we’re going to go compete for that. That’s one of our goals, and that’s something that we feel is attainable. We’ve just kind of got to go do it.”

Not a game has been played in the District 10-2A season, but the league’s coaches from Livingston Parish figure the race will come down to a couple of usual suspects in Doyle and St. Thomas Aquinas.

As long as her team is in the conversation, that suits Doyle coach Sam White just fine.

“We always want to win one,” White said of capturing a district title. “We feel like we’re going to go compete for that. That’s one of our goals, and that’s something that we feel is attainable. We’ve just kind of got to go do it.”

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Daniel Martin

French Settlement coach Daniel Martin calls out instructions to his players.

St. Thomas swept the season series last season from Doyle on its way to the league title, something the Lady Tigers haven’t forgotten.

“You have those certain games that are always a rivalry that people look forward to, and they (St. Thomas) are definitely at the top of our list on that,” White said. “The girls love it. It’s always a good, fun game because it’s back-and-forth. We just always hope we come out on the better end of it.

“I’m glad they’re in our district because it’s kind of a playoff atmosphere, and it gets us kind of ready for that. That’s a good thing.”

Doyle, which opens league play hosting St. Helena in a doubleheader at 6 p.m. Tuesday, has relied on a true team approach, led by veterans Presleigh Scott, Sydney Taylor, Elise Jones, Kourtlynn Lacey and Meghan Watson. The Lady Tigers (20-2) start league play as the No. 1 team in the LHSAA’s Class 2A power rankings.

“We have to play really good basketball,” White said. “They wouldn’t just give it to us that’s for sure, just like we wouldn’t just give it to them. We need to be playing some really good basketball, kind of clicking on all cylinders.”

Meanwhile, French Settlement is looking to build on a third-place district finish from last season, and based on pre-district results, FSHS coach Daniel Martin has an idea of how things could shake out this season.

FSHS travels to face Springfield to open league play at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“I haven’t seen St. Thomas a whole lot this year, but I think Doyle and St. Thomas have got to be the favorites right now,” Martin said while noting the improved play of Springfield and St. Helena this season. “I think from there, it’s wide open. I don’t know. I really think anybody can beat anybody on a given night in our district this year.”

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French Settlement girls basketball Payton Clouatre

Clouatre

The Lady Lions lost just one player to graduation from last season’s team and have relied on veterans Dannah Martin, Payton Clouatre and Serenity Smith heading into league play.

“We’re that team right now that I feel like we can play with anybody, but also we’re that team that sometimes struggles against a team that we feel like we should beat,” Daniel Martin said. “This is the time of the year where you kind of make those adjustments, make those changes and try to have some teams see some different things from you, and I’m hoping that those adjustments are going to benefit us. I hope that we kind of come out with some energy and see where it goes from there.

“It’s hard for us to kind of say where we fit in because honestly I believe that we can play with anybody. It’s going to come down to do we have the energy and we’ve got to play as a team, we’ve got to play smart and see where it leads us.”

It may be Billy Dreher’s first time competing in 10-2A, but he knows enough about the league simply from looking at the power ratings.

“I mean, everyone’s really good,” Dreher said. “They’re all top-15 in the rankings, and it’s going to be tough any game just to get a win will be tough.”

Dreher said the key for the Lady Bulldogs will be picking up some wins at home in league play.

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Springfield vs DSHS girls basketball William Dreher

Springfield coach Billy Dreher calls out adjustments to his players.

“Any wins we can get in district will be hard-fought and tough to get, so hopefully we can get a couple wins in district,” he said. “You’ve got to win at least a few, hopefully on your home court.”

He’s hoping that helps the Lady Bulldogs gain some momentum as league play progresses.

“Doyle and St. Thomas Aquinas are proven, and French Settlement’s always solid,” Dreher said. “Us and St. Helena are kind of the unknowns that are starting to get better, but can we do it and beat the big dogs? You don’t know until you face them, but you have to say Doyle is a big favorite.”

Whatever happens, White said any team that makes the playoffs from the district should be well-tested.

“I love district to be as tough as it possibly can, especially with power points,” she said. “You have to play your district, and you don’t want that to effect power points. You want to make sure that you’re playing good people, who if you win or lose, it doesn’t really effect you too much.”

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