Loachapoka Boys and Girls Have Successful Seasons

The Loachapoka girls and boys teams won their sub-regional matchups Feb. 13 and 14, respectively, to advance to the second round of the state tournament. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED TO THE OBSERVER




The 2022-23 season has been a successful year in basketball for the Loachapoka High School Indians. Both the boys and girls teams were able to win their area and have played a good brand of basketball in the postseason tournaments.

The girls team defeated Calhoun 58-24 on Tuesday night to advance to the second round of the AHSAA 1A girls’ tournament. The Indians’ next game will be Feb. 16 against University Charter.

The team has several talented players who have made an impact on games and have contributed greatly to their success.

“Senior Taylah Murph is my point guard,” said head coach Anthony Edwards. “She makes this team go. Junior Jasmyn Thomas plays on both sides of the ball. She lights up the stat sheet in all areas. Senior Myana Chenier is a force on the boards and her scoring is improving. Sophomore Kaylan Dowdell is our most improved player by far and she leads us in blocked shots.”

Focus is hard to come by at times, so teams have methods of staying locked in.

“It’s not easy to keep them focused,” Edwards said. “We set simple goals for each game [and] we go after those goals each game.”

Roster turnover is a problem all coaches deal with, but it can be extra hard to overcome at the high school level. That has been a focus for the Indians this season.

“Last year’s team had a little more leadership,” Edwards said on how this team is different from last year’s. “This year’s team is smaller but faster and able to match up with other teams a little better.”

The Indians had to learn how to play without the special group of seniors that they had last year.

“The seniors from last year were so knowledgeable about the game,” Edwards said. “They didn’t mind stepping on the toes of their teammates if they had to benefit the team.”

Defense has been regarded as one of the most important aspects of a basketball game. Loachapoka puts an emphasis on defense and has an undefeated area record to show for it.

“The key to success in our area was defense,” Edwards said. “We held teams in our area to 20 points or less per game.”

In addition to the girls, the Loachapoka Indians boys team has enjoyed a good amount of success as well this season.

On the talented team, there is one player who sticks out in the mind of head coach Sheroderick Smith.

“Xavion Moore has been the biggest impact,” Smith said. “He is a player that has really elevated his game from last year. Last year he would get into foul trouble and not play defense like he needed to but this year he was tremendously better.”

Much like the girls team and every high school team, the Indians had trouble remaining focused at times this season. The team was able to lock in when it mattered the most, however.

“The practice before the area championship game was one of the most focused practices we had,” Smith said. “Then to follow it up by beating our rival school.”

Roster turnover has been one of the biggest obstacles that the Indians have had to overcome.

“This year’s team doesn’t have the experience that the reserve players had last year,” Smith said. “Right now, we have seven players who have only played varsity for one year.”

Like many high school teams, Loachapoka has been heavily dependent on its senior class.

“Those seniors mean a lot to this team,” Smith said. “They bring the vocal experience back to the team that needs to have it for the lack of experience that this team was playing with.”

With both teams still alive in their postseason tournaments, a good year could become even better for the Loachapoka Indians.


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