LCO's multi-state championship team consists of (top row, left to right): Coach Jason LeBoeuf, Abbi Soudelier, Jacey Gautreaux, Traya Bruce, Kyzha Jackson, Emily Danos, Victorianna Nelson, Channing Barrios, managers Makayla Bynum and Isabel Danos,
Forget the Denver Broncos. The Seattle Seahawks? Who needs ‘em. Our area has its own title-bearing sports team.
The Larose-Cut Off Middle School girls’ basketball team is officially the 2014 Louisiana middle school state champions!
The Lady Bulldogs earned that title this weekend at the Multi-State Middle School Championship Tournament played on Louisiana Tech’s campus in Ruston.
The Lady Bulldogs pounded the competition throughout their four-game, two-game stay, winning each of their contests by 20 points or more.
The championship game wasn’t even close, as LCO waxed two-time defending champion Rayville by a 53-24 score to secure the title.
The Lady Bulldogs returned to Larose on Sunday afternoon with the large golden trophy nestled in their possession. They were met by a nest of local fans who flocked the school’s campus to show support for the local ladies after their latest accomplishment.
LCO is a perfect 17-0 this season with most of their victories being over by halftime.
Lady Bulldogs’ coach Jason LeBoeuf said the team’s latest triumph just shows that his team is special – fully capable of outlasting top-notch competition.
“There were so many amazing teams at this tournament,” LeBoeuf said from the team’s bus as LCO made the trek from Ruston back to Larose on Sunday. “For us to come here and walk away the champions is great. It’s just another amazing accomplishment by this special, special group of girls. We’ve talked before, and I’ve said it – nothing they do surprises us anymore. The sky has always been the limit. This is just an amazing achievement.”
The weekend for the LCO girls started with a Saturday morning bus trek from Larose to LA Tech’s campus – a 300-mile ride.
But that ride was made in style, as the Lady Bulldogs were able to make the trip on a travel bus, instead of a school bus. LeBoeuf said the team’s ability to travel comfortably played a huge role in LCO’s weekend success.
The coach said he wanted to thank a slew of businesses and individuals who made donations to allow the team to make the trip as comfortably as possible.
“We want to really thank all of the people who supported us to make this trip possible,” LeBoeuf said. “So many generous people made donations, and we’re so, so thankful. We definitely want to mention those people because we owe a lot of gratitude to them.”
Once they arrived in Ruston, the Lady Bulldogs tangled with some of the toughest middle school teams in the South.
In the opening game of the event, LCO pounced Ruston Middle School 52-19. After a slow start, three Lady Bulldogs scored double figures in the win, led by Jacey Gautreaux with 19 points.
LeBoeuf noted the Ruston game because LCO used it to make a name throughout the tournament. Three LA Tech assistant coaches watched the game and complimented LeBoeuf following the win. The coaching staff also met with LCO eighth grade guard Traya Bruce following the win.
Bruce was a consistent force throughout the two-day tournament, winning the tournament’s MVP award.
She even drew compliments from LA Tech head coach and WNBA legend Teresa Weatherspoon, who watched LCO play during the weekend and had nice things to say about Bruce and the Lady Bulldogs’ team following the tournament.
“That was so awesome,” LeBoeuf said. “To hear them say great things about our team was quite an honor.”
The next day, the Lady Bulldogs tangled Red River Junior High School and roared to a 49-29 win – their toughest game of the tournament. LeBoeuf said Red River was blessed with one of the better middle school players that he’s seen in his coaching career.
But LCO combated her skill with swarming team defense and balanced scoring to punch a ticket into the semifinals.
Victorianna Nelson scored 22 points against Red River, while Gautreaux pitched in 15.
Prior to Saturday morning’s game, Red River was 32-3 on the season.
“They were a great team,” LeBoeuf said. “We had learned that they had won a few tournaments throughout the season, so they definitely pushed us. But we got a lead early and just build on it and were able to do a really good job keeping them at arm’s length in the final minutes of the game.”
After beating Red River, LCO lambasted Lee Junior High School 51-23 in the semifinals to set up a showdown with Rayville in the Finals on Saturday night.
Another game, another blowout, as the Lady Bulldogs hopped onto the two-time defending champs early and put away the game late to seal the title.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, LCO rejoiced its win – another in a long line of triumphs for a group of ladies that just keep on winning.
Several members of LCO’s team were members of South Lafourche Biddy Basketball’s 2013 World Championship Team.
LeBoeuf said this weekend felt similar to that experience.
He should know – he was the coach for both teams.
“I think this was maybe even a little bit bigger of an achievement because of how stiff the competition was here and the number of great teams at the event,” LeBoeuf said. “It’s just one in a list of great things these girls have done, and hopefully will continue to do into the future.”ï¿½
Posted on Tue, February 4, 2014