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|Watkins, Tennessee lead boys team|
Ferriday High boys basketball coach K.G. Watkins was working with the Ferriday High football team last May, not knowing if he would still be coaching the Trojan football or basketball team in 2007-08 at that stage.
When Freddie Harrison was named head football coach at Ferriday a couple of months later, Watkins took over the Trojan boys basketball team. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Watkins guided the Trojans to the state championship game in Class 2A where the Trojans fell to St. Thomas Aquinas, after eliminating Lakeside in the semifinals at the Top 28 Tournament in Lafayette.
Watkins assisted Lisa Abron with the Lady Trojan basketball team last season. When James McFarland left as head football coach and James Davis resigned as boys basketball coach to accept a job as principal at Ferriday Junior High, it left Watkins serving double duty at Ferriday High.
"I just had all the boys in the weight room," Watkins said. "Coach Davis had asked me to take over the boys basketball program because I had coached against him when I was at Tensas Parish. I had really committed to that when Coach McFarland left."
Watkins' dilemma was settled when Harrison came on as head football coach.
Watkins then led Ferriday to a 26-8 season, going unbeaten in District 2-2A and an impressive 7-1 as a visiting team.
"I had a chance to see the boys basketball team last year and knew they had a lot of talent," Watkins said. "I knew there were a lot of seniors, which is not always a great thing when you are just taking over. I knew it would not be wise to change anything, so we just worked on attitude and hustle."
Ferriday averaged 59.6 points a game and allowed 49.5 points a game.
The Trojans made 62 percent of their free throws
"These kids came into practice and worked hard every day," Watkins said. "We did not have a real superstar, everyone contributed. If one position had a bad night, someone else stepped up. Our defense was accentuated by our hustle. A lot of our baskets were by turnovers and hustle."
Ferriday defeated Lakeside 65-64 before falling to St. Thomas Aquinas 61-52.
"I told the kids before the final game, no matter win, lose or draw, they would walk out of this place as winners," Watkins said. "We all believed we would win that last game. We just did not play with the aggressiveness we did all year. But it was still a great year and I am very proud of what they accomplished."
For his efforts, Watkins is the 2007-08 Parish Coach of the Year.
Senior Trojan Montrell Tennessee, who averaged 15.3 points and 4.3 rebounds is the Player of the Year.
"I'll never forget that last time in the Cajundome in the locker room before the game when we were all sitting around talking and listening to music," Tennessee said. "We talked about how much we were going to miss each other and how other people were going to have to step up and fill our shoes when we were gone. I never thought we would get as far as we did. It took everybody playing together."
Also named to the team from Ferriday were seniors Matthew Smith and Josh Upchurch.
Smith averaged 10.1 points a game, 2.2 assists and 2.0 steals. He also made 10 3-pointers on the season.
Upchurch averaged 10.7 points a game and 3.4 rebounds. He also blocked 18 shots.
Named to the parish team from Vidalia High were senior Brandon Hawkins and sophomore Gary Stewart.
Hawkins averaged 11.2 points a game and 4.0 rebounds, while Stewart averaged 16.1 points a game and 11.5 rebounds.
Huntington is represented by junior Tyler Pere´ and senior Jody Cottongin.
Cottongin averaged 6.5 points a game after missing the first part of the season with a shoulder injury suffered in football. He also avearged 2.8 assists.
Pere´ led the Hounds with 18.2 points a game and 7.9 rebounds.
Seniors Billy Metcalf and Beau Shively were named from Monterey High School.
Shively led the Wolves in scoring.
Metcalf's baseball season was cut short when he was hit in the face by a pitched ball, breaking his nose.
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