Another astounding season for the Natchitoches Central Chiefs boys basketball team is delayed, not at all derailed.
The Chiefs, who have captured 83 percent of their games in the past 10 seasons, are big winners again in 2020-21, with a 14-1 overall record including a 5-0 mark in District 1-5A. NCHS has recently been ranked No. 1 in the state.
But currently, the Chiefs are sidetracked by contact tracing related to the Covid-19 virus. A player on the Southwood team that NCHS defeated 58-49 on Jan. 15 received a positive test result, forcing a pause in action.
They’re scheduled to resume play at home on Wednesday, Feb. 3 against St. Edmunds in a non-district game. District play picks back up two nights later, also at the Teepee against a very good Benton HS team.
The coaching staff has been shuffled at the top as 15-year head coach Micah Coleman accepted an assistant principal’s position and shifted to assistant coach. Moving into the head slot is Ebarb native and NSU graduate Kolton Sepulvado, a master strategist as an assistant for the past 10 years.
Darius Burton, a former Chiefs star who played collegiately at East Texas Baptist, is in his ninth season on the coaching staff. Kaleb Usleton is in his fourth year.
“Very little has changed,” said Coleman, in how the staff functions. Virtually nothing has changed in how the NCHS team performs, and stacks up victories, although graduation in 2020 resulted in only two key contributors returning from last season’s powerhouse that finished 28-4, shocked in the regional round of the playoffs after earning a No. 1 seeding.
The Chiefs’ standard is high with state titles in 2014 and 2016, a 2015 state runner-up finish and a 2018 state semifinal appearance.
Returning starters are Darius Young, a 6-4 senior posting 22 points and 14 rebounds per game; and Jaiden Hare, a 6-5 senior defensive stalwart averaging 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Senior point guard Gerald Williams keys the Chiefs. He has a 4/1 assist-to-turnover ratio in district that sets the tone for success. The other starters are senior Sean Lacour, a zone-busting shooter with a nine-point average, and junior Dalyn Davis, scoring 10 per game.
Vital contributors off the bench are Justin “Juddy” Aaron, a versatile junior whose defensive prowess is a dynamic attribute; juniors Caylin Demars and Devin Helaire, and senior Tim Curtis.
Their only loss came at defending 5A state champion Alexandria in a game the Chiefs led until the final 90 seconds. Their best wins are at Benton, and against Sulphur (12-3) and a talented St. Martinville team.
Tremendous effort is the team’s hallmark.
Home games begin at 7:30 following a 6 o’clock girls’ contest. Capacity is capped at 265 under Covid restrictions, but walk-up tickets have been available at every game. Fans are urged to arrive early.
February will be busy with postponed games rescheduled as possible. Home district games are slated Feb. 5, 9, and 16, with bi-district boys playoffs beginning Feb. 26.