The West St. Mary High School boys’ basketball team wouldn’t have made it to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/Louisiana High School Athletic Association Marsh Madness basketball tournament without senior Dunante Charles, WSM head coach Gary Burrell says.
Charles helped lead the Wolfpack to the Class 2A semifinals in Sulphur with wins over East Feliciana and upsets of fourth-seeded Many and fifth-seeded Rapides, the latter two games on the road, before WSM fell to eventual state champion Madison Prep in the semifinals.
The West St. Mary senior was chosen by the sports staff of The Daily Iberian as the Most Valuable Player for the Best of the Teche Small School Boys’ Basketball Team for 2017, comprised of players in the newspaper’s coverage area from classes 2A through B.
“I would tell anybody that Charles was the MVP of my team,” Burrell said. “When you talk about the postseason, the kids know they have to step their game up. Being a senior he knew we either had to win or go home.”
And Charles simply didn’t want to go home.
Charles’ teammate Tywan Polidore also earned a spot on the Small School first team, along with Tyreese Batiste of Jeanerette High School, Semaj Flugence of Catholic High School, JeDan Jacob of Loreauville High School, Cole McKay of Episcopal School of Acadiana and Jaylon Williams of Centerville High School.
Polidore was chosen as the MVP for District 5-2A during the regular season and led the Wolfpack in scoring for the season.
“Tywan had an excellent year and the other coaches in the district saw that,” Burrell said. “Charles faced a lot of double teams this year, and that opened up a lot of what Tywan did.
“Once we lost those three other guys inside (from the previous season), he took it upon himself to be a leader. He did an excellent job rebounding on both ends of the floor and playing defense. With his quickness, he caused a lot of matchup problems.”
Burrell was chosen as the Coach of the Year for the Best of the Teche Small School Team.
Batiste averaged 15 points, five rebounds and two assists a game for Jeanerette and was a first-team All-District selection.
Flugence, a senior guard who has signed with Southern Arkansas, averaged 15.5 points, four rebounds and two assists a game for the CHS Panthers and also was a first-team All-District pick.
Williams averaged 18.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.4 blocks per game for Centerville, helping the Bulldogs advance to the Class A semifinals in Sulphur. He was second in his district in MVP voting and was a first-team All-District pick.
“Jaylon had a wonderful season for us,” Centerville coach Randy Bergeron said. “He has a beautiful shooting stroke and does a good job of attacking the basket. (He’s) just a sophomore. his future is bright at Centerville. I think he will be the cornerstone for us for the next two years, as we try and make another run at the top 28.”
McKay was a four-year starter for ESA and one of the best to ever play at the school, coach Mike Bourgeois said. McKay, a first-team All-District pick and honorable mention Class B All-State choice, helped the Falcons reach the Division V semifinals in Sulphur.
Jacob also was a first-team All-District choice in District 5-2A and was a multi-sport standout for Loreauville, earning first-team All-State football honors as a wide receiver and signing to play football at East Texas Baptist.
Honorable mentions include Chris Snowden of West St. Mary, Zebediah Berggren and Tylar Lewis of Delcambre, Lance Howard, Jackson Hebert and Marquis Strawder of Centerville, Mason Shuffler and Tucker Arkin of ESA, Shonathan Sparrow of Jeanerette and Micah Hulin of Catholic High.