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Mr. Cade Methvin
|Baseball player 1995-99 and graduate assistant in 2000.
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LHS girls bring home state crown
Bruce Brown, Daily Advertiser, March 9, 2012
RUSTON â€" Make no mistake about it, Friday's Class 5A girls championship game at the LHSAA Top 28 was a heavyweight title bout.
Lafayette High point guard Jasmine King even played much of the second half with her head bandaged, the result of getting scratched on a foul.
But King was smiling at game's end as the Lady Lions outfought cold-shooting Southwood 39-32 to complete a perfect 35-0 season and earn the first girls basketball crown in school history.
Senior guard Armanee Broussard was named the game's Outstanding Player while leading the victors with 11 points. She was also one of the few on ther side to hit half of her shots (4-of-8) as tenacity and defense ruled the day.
Southwood star Kourtney Pennywell, on the other hand, suffered through a horrendous 2-of-15 night at La. Tech's Thomas Assembly Center. As a team, the Lady Cowboys hit 9-of-54 (16 percent), including an 0-for-14 first quarter and 1-for-11 in the third.
Next to that, LHS's 12-of-45 (26 percent) looked torrid.
"Obviously, it was a very
physical game," Lions coach Cade Methvin said. "Our kids got after it, and didn't give an inch.
"A couple of important things: For the season, we're a 55 percent free throw shooting team, and tonight we hit 11-of-14 (78.6 percent). So, that was big. Also, we wanted to out-rebound them, and we did that, 44-39.
"Our kids didn't quit, even though the score was low. We hang our hat on defense. That's what gets it for us."
Senior Sabre Sarradet led the Lady Lions with 13 rebounds. She did not score, but defense and crashing the boards were her focal points against rangy Southwood.
"That's what I focused on, more than scoring," Sarradet said.
"It was a hard-fought game," said SHS coach Steve McDowell, whose team fell to 35-1. "Our girls played their hearts out.
"We got some good shots. They just didn't fall. We got it inside to the post in the second half, and got a lot of good looks. A lot of the shots we missed we normally make. You've got to give them credit. They're a physical, tough team."
The Lady Lions were a team intent on finishing on a perfect note. Doing so against Southwood, which knocked them out in last year's quarterfinals, made the experience even sweeter.
Lafayette built a 12-5 lead after the first quarter, a lead that could have been larger given Southwood's oh-for shooting woes. It was 16-7 on a Kortney Kling bucket in the second, but SHS turned to 3-point bombs to catch up.
A trey from Alexus Howard knotted the count at 18 apiece at halftime as the two unbeatens settled nothing in the first 16 minutes of action.
"We've played many physical games this year," Broussard said. "(When it gets hectic) we all talk to each other, get each other back up and paying attention."
Three-pointers from Taylor Payne and Broussard opened the third period for LHS, and a Tylor Payne layup following a Taylor Payne save helped to mount a 27-22 lead after three.
Luv Blackburn's trey sent LHS toward a 31-22 lead, and apparent safety with 5:30 to go. But the Lady Cowboys began a full-court press and crawled with 33-28 at the 2:30 mark.
"They used the press against us early in the game, then sort of got away from it," Methvin said. "Then we had a little trouble with it when they came back with it. It took us a while to understand what we needed to do,"
King hit a pair of free throws at 1:39 to provide some breathing room, then Blackburn and Broussard hit enough charities in the final minute to secure the historic win.
"We knew we would have to leave it all on the court," said King, who joined numerous teammates in determined dives for loose balls.
"You don't think about a perfect season," Sarradet said. "You take it game-by-game, play-by-play."
"You focus on your goal instead of being 35-0," Broussard said. "You focus on those 32 minutes. That's it."
That focus paid handsomely for the Lady Lions.
"Early in the year, we tried to think about. We were trying to be pretty," Methvin said. "But that's not us. We're not a white collar team. We're a blue collar team."
After Friday night heavyweight bout, they're a blue-collar team with a crown.
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Lady Lions ready for playoff challenge ahead
Daily Advertiser, Feb. 16, 2012
Flying high while staying grounded, that's Lafayette High's Lady Lions.
Coach Cade Methvin's senior-powered squad will be seeded No. 1 in Class 5A when the LHSAA state playoff pairings are announced on Friday, then they'll seek the perfect ending to a thus-far perfect campaign.
The only thing that could top their 30-0 record and remarkable four straight years of unbeaten district play would be a state championship.
That's a perfect formula for a team that always seems to have bigger fish to fry.
"There's definitely a difference between confident and cocky," center Sabre Sarradet said. "We're confident, but we're also humble. We're 30-0, but that means nothing. We set our goals and stay humble."
"It's a fine line (between confident and cocky)," said Armanee Broussard. "Sometimes we flirt with that line, but then we get back to the real world. The next day, we pretend like it never happened."
Fewer than a handful of teams have come within single digits of LHS, which bested a dozen District 3-5A foes by an average of 54-31, so humility could be a tough sell.
"Our coach (Cade Methvin) keeps us humble," Luv Blackburn said. "He always tells us at halftime to go back out there like it's 0-0, even if we're ahead by 30 points."
The key ingredient is the relationship enjoyed by seniors Broussard, Sarradet, Blackburn, Jasmine King, Adrienne Prejean and Annelise Bonvillain - the six players who set the tone for every game and practice.
"Sabre, Armanee and myself have been together since our freshman year, and we all gelled with each other," said Prejean, who missed Wednesday's practice with illness but averages 12.4 points and 8.0 rebounds as the team's power forward.
"It's not just on the court," King said. "It's off the court, too. It's comraderie and chemistry, and putting in a lot of individual work. We're best friends. We hang out together, 24-7."
"It takes talent and chemistry, and being unselfish," said Blackburn, a small forward who exhibits her unselfishness with assists. "We hang out, go everywhere together."
"It has a lot to do with teamwork, dedication and hard work in practice," said Bonvillain, a top reserve bound for Princeton. "There are things I see on the bench that the starters may not see. I give them someone they can relate to, someone they trust. I also encourage the younger girls."
Broussard is the designated gunner on the squad.
"I have the green light to shoot," she said. "Ever since I was 5, I could shoot. I come from a basketball family, so I had to learn how at a young age."
King knows all about family basketball connections as the San Antonio-born niece of former NBA star George "Iceman" Gervin.
"As the point guard, I'm like the captain out there," she said. "If I do bad, that breaks down the team. I'm there to control the tempo. That's a big weight on my shoulders. Before games, I challenge myself, chill out, listen to music and talk to my dad."
Sarradet is the center, averaging 9.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Her playing time down the stretch was curtailed by knee surgery, but she's healthy for postseason.
"You can't rush it," she said. "It's the same injury (different knee) as last year, so I knew the recovery time. I was actually was released to play a week early. Physical therapy helped a lot."
Legacy of success
Those four straight unbeaten district campaigns make quite a legacy for the group.
"It's still a bit surreal," Broussard said. "You work so hard. Winning district every year is one of our goals. Staying head-and-shoulders above the others takes hard work and dedication - and, once the season starts, it's basketball, 24-7."
"I've been a starter since my freshman year, and it becomes a tradition," Prejean said. "You focus on each game, and stay humble. I'm a veteran, so in the heat of the game my role is to keep the team calm, grounded and level-headed."
"It's been amazing," King said. "That's something no one can take away from you."
"No matter who we play, we're always focused on just that next game," Bonvillain said. "We're not looking ahead. At every practice, we have a game plan. We never underestimate an opponent."
Now, of course, the stakes are higher. Five more wins and LHS will have its first girls state title. But, with the possible exception of a first-round date with a No. 32 seed, nothing is given in the postseason.
The Lady Lions lost in the 2009 finals to Chapelle and were halted in last year's quarterfinals by Southwood. They know about getting painfully close.
"That (Southwood) game was neck-and-neck the whole way," Bonvillain said. "When we lost, we were all crying. We were devastated. We did not plan on losing that game.
"We were hopeful of going to the Top 28, and I think with that notion we might have been looking forward. Now we know. It's drilled into our brain."
This year, LHS wouldn't meet Southwood until the finals, if form holds.
Goals are the same
"Our goal stays there," Broussard said. "It keeps us motivated. I've been to the championship game as a freshman, and I know what it feels like to get there and lose. We take nothing for granted."
"The Chapelle game was my first year playing at such a high level," Prejean said. "I wasn't ready. Against Southwood, I remember their band. They were so loud, we could hardly hear our coach and focus."
The Lions fully expect to be tested every step of the way, and they're ready..
"Teams will be better at pressing us," Sarradet said. "I'll have to stay strong on the boards, because I won't be playing some of the tiny players I've faced. We have to be ready to fight."
"Teams know we like to run, so we're going to have to work on our half-court game," Broussard said. "They'll try to slow us down."
For King, it remains a mental game.
"We need to stay focused for all 32 minutes, and not get sloppy," she said. "We've worked hard all season to keep our focus and stay humble."
"It's a little easier, because we've been through it and know what to expect," Prejean said.
Blackwell added, "Teams will try to take us out of our game, get in our heads. But our chemistry is so strong, they really can't do that."
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Bruce Brown, Daily Advertiser, Jan. 6, 2011
Lafayette High's Lady Lions expect to win every time they take the court, and so far they're perfect.
When coach Cade Methvin's squad survived a challenge with a 47-45 victory on the road at Sulphur on Tuesday night, it raised their record to 19-0 overall and a spotless 3-0 in District 3-5A competition.
LHS finished the 2010-11 campaign with a 28-4 record, bowing out in the state quarterfinals with a loss to Southwood, so Methvin isn't shocked at the fast start. The trick is to keep performance levels high every night.
"I felt like we would have a good season," Methvin said. "We have a bunch of ways to win. Some teams have good shooters, some are athletic, some will press you. We have all that. If someone takes something away, we can go to something else."
Lafayette returned five starters from last year's 28-4 team. All are seniors â€" point guard Jasmine King, guard Armanee' Broussard, post Sabre' Sarradet, small forward Luv Blackburn and power forward Adrienne Prejean â€" and it is a battle-tested group.
"Some of them started as freshmen or sophomores," Methvin said. "They've played together for four years â€" two years for Casey (Delhomme) and last year and this year for me â€" and they know each other well.
"Their roles are well-defined. Armanee' can shoot from the outside, Jasmine can penetrate and get the ball to others, Luv is a passer and is unselfish, Adrienne can play the high post and Sabre' can dominate the backboards."
There have been close calls like the win over Sulphur and a 55-53 decision over St. Thomas More, but many of Lafayette's games have been one-sided. Methvin's job is to keep pushing the right buttons.
"Sometimes it's hard to keep them getting better and better," he said. "I keep telling them not to look at our record, to think of it as being 0-0. They tend to get satisfied and complacent. But I tell them, don't be satisfied."
The next test of that focus comes tonight at LHS, when the Lions host an Acadiana High team that spanked Barbe 48-36 on Tuesday to improve to 8-8 and 2-1 in District 3-5A.
"Sulphur will always be a contender," Methvin said. "She (Helen LeFevre) has done a good job for many years. The surprise is Barbe (now 15-5). It looks like Catherine Cassidy has them believing what she's telling them at Acadiana."
But the Lions aren't afraid to look beyond the district race.
"We talk about the playoffs sometimes," Methvin said. "We talk about other 5A teams that are doing well, teams we use as a measuring stick. Southwood is undefeated, as we are, and has all its players back but one. I hear Ouachita is big, with a 6-3 and a 6-4 player. And Natchitoches Central is always athletic and will be up there."
The Lions plan to be up there, too, and Methvin sees signs that they have the maturity to handle the challenge ahead.
"One of the biggest things is, you always teach your players what to do in certain situations," he said. "A lot of times, that makes us better. Well, at times our players will decide on their own during a timeout or a free throw what might be good to run and they'll bring it up.
"I try to give them that freedom. At the same time, they'll do what I want done."
Those players are also willing to work for their success.
"You can say you have the will to win, but are you willing to do what's necessary?" Methvin said. "Will you do the dirty work? The rebounding? Are you willing to go without points if it makes your teammate better? Our players accept their roles, and are willing to do what it takes."
Lafayette's roster is peppered with athletes from its successful volleyball and track programs, so they come equipped with winning as a way of life.
"You get used to winning," he said. "You expect to win. That's a huge thing."
So far, it's a perfect
|Baseball:|| 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999|
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