Wildcats M & W Basketball Post Great Seasons | Louisiana College

Wildcats M & W Basketball Post Great Seasons

With the combined effort of both men’s and women’s Wildcats teams, Louisiana College basketball rolled up 30 wins this season and earned trips to the NCAA Division III tournaments.

This is the sixth time since LC joined the NCAA in the 2000-01 season that the teams would combine for that number of wins. They did it four straight seasons during the hay day of LC women’s basketball of 2009-2013 that featured the school’s only NCAA tournament appearances, conference tournament championship, and four 20-win seasons.

During the 2018-19 season, the men earned the most wins but fell one win shy of their first 20-win season in program history. They posted a record 10-game winning streak, and they did that while on the road.

While the men were poised to potentially win their first conference tournament, that effort fell short by only to points in the first round.

The Wildcats men will say goodbye to some key players from this year’s squad, most notably big man Devon Washington, who put together back-to-back 400-point, 200-rebound seasons, the first player to accomplish such a feat. Returning to the squad next season is the ASC East Newcomer of the Year and spark plug K.B. Baker, along with top-flight defender Jaylen Rhone, both of whom made striking stands on the court.

“Hats off to our basketball team this year,” Head Coach Reni Mason said. “They did an exceptional, exceptional job. I’ve never met a great coach that didn’t have great players and our kids did it. I’m very proud to have coached them this year.”

Louisiana College President Dr. Rick Brewer said, “Hats off to Coach Mason. He has mentored the Wildcats on and off the floor, and I believe his emphasis on developing character contributed to the success of this season.”

“Reni gets it,” Brewer added. “While I know he is a fierce competitor, he is equally passionate about teaching his Wildcats how to succeed in life as well as in basketball. I am grateful to Coach Mason as he admirably reflects Louisiana College’s overarching commitment to holistic education by his exemplary life on and off the court.”

After four seasons at the helm, Mason has redesigned the culture of the program and the way Wildcats play by a strong emphasis on defense. It’s no coincidence that the Wildcats had such success. The work that former assistant Jonathan Brooks and his successor Michael Prather sets the table for the Wildcats to be contenders under Mason’s direction.

“Jonathan gutted it out with me in the early going,” Mason said. “His assistance was continued with the hiring of Michael, a 10-year veteran of the ASC. I am thankful for these men and have been blessed to work with them. We would not be where we are without them.”

Like the men, the LC women will have holes to fill with the graduation of three senior guards, including 1,000-point scorer Kourtney McGhee, who ended her career as one of the most prolific players among a long list of talented women. Replacing more than half the scoring output from last year from those three players lands on the shoulders of ASC East Freshman of the Year Jayla Landrum and a new crop of freshmen who may see significant minutes of game time.

“The beauty of losing three players like that is the freshmen are going to come in and have a chance to play right away,” Head Coach Matt LeBato said. “But we’ve still got to get better in a lot of spots. It’s a process finding the players that will fit into the style that I want us to play and those roles within the team.”

LeBato made adjustments to his game plan based on personnel and the playing style of his competitors. After a solid start to the season, the Lady Wildcats took a few steps back before finding their stride. With at least four Louisiana state championship athletes already committed for next year, the new look Wildcats could return to former glory or at least take a strong step in that direction.

Offseason recruiting road trips started the day after both teams were eliminated from the conference tournament and will continue throughout the summer, Mason said. And both teams will rely on freshmen and sophomores to compliment their returning starters along with the inevitable junior college transfers.

“We remain committed to becoming the best we can be in all sports,” said Mason, who is Louisiana College’s athletic director. “But that commitment would be incomplete if we did not also have compassion for and give direction to the total life of our athletes. After all, the ultimate success of our athletic programs is not measured by scoreboards and statistics, but by how successful our students are in their careers and spiritual walk with God.”

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Stay connected to both teams throughout the offseason by following @LC_WBB and @LC_MBSK on Twitter. For general athletics news and updates on all sports follow @LC_Wildcats on Twitter or like Louisiana College Wildcats on Facebook.