Walker girls basketball vs. Natchitoches Central: Tiara Young

Walker High's Tiara Young (23) averaged 29.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 steals in leading the Lady Cats to the Class 5A state semifinals.

WALKER – Walker High School is at the epicenter of the Class 5A postseason basketball universe once again.

Less than a month after carrying the flag for their school and winning Louisiana’s Gatorade Players of the Year, Jalen Cook and Tiara Young stand atop another statewide list.

Not only were both Cook and Young named to the Class 5A All-State first team, but were selected the Outstanding Players by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association released Thursday.

“It’s a blessing from God,” Cook said. “I was so low when we lost the state championship (70-60 against Thibodaux). God blessed me with all of these awards that brought me back me up. I have to thank my family and all of the coaches. They just pushed me hard to prepare me for this season.”

While Cook, an honorable mention Class 5A selection a year ago, made his initial appearance on the All-State first team, Young has some experience in that area.

Young earned first team Class 5A All-State status for the third time in her career and was the repeat choice as the Outstanding Player. She was a second-team All-State selection as a sophomore while still at Evangel Christian Academy.

“It’s always a blessing to be able to receive these awards,” Young said. “Last year when I received it, I was blessed because anyone could have gotten it. After my junior year ended, I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted to get better so I had to work harder all summer and offseason to come back and accomplish that award again my senior year. It’s a blessing.”

Keith Green, who guided Captain Shreve to its first state championship, was voted Coach of the Year.

Repeating is a common theme on the girls team.

For the third consecutive year Alexius Horne, a senior point guard at Denham Springs High School, earned first-team honors for the third consecutive year.

Walker vs. Thibodaux boys basketball Jalen Cook

Walker High junior point guard Jalen Cook averaged 29.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, handing out 4.7 assists with 2.8 steals, helping to lead the Wildcats to a state runner-up finish.

Horne, who averaged 18 points and helped the Lady Jackets to a Class 5A state runner-up finish to Captain Shreve, was a two-time first-team choice while at McKinley High in Baton Rouge. She transferred to Denham Springs for her senior season and teamed with Desiree Jones and Kate Thompson, both of whom were Class 5A all-state honorable mention selections.

“She’s a tremendous player and it shows in all of the honors she’s received,” Walker coach Hannah Jones said of Young. “All of the work she’s put in shows through. She’s a tremendous player and student. It all fits into all that she’s accomplished.”

Walker went 32-5 this season, winning the District 4-5A championship before advancing to the Class 5A state semifinals where they fell to Denham Springs.

Young, who averaged 27.2 points in her final season at Evangel, managed to surpass that, scoring 1,056 points for an average of 29.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 steals.

She scored 40-plus points on eight occasions with a career-high 50 coming in a District 4-5A win over Scotlandville.

Young was also chosen as the MVP in District 4-5A and was a member of the winning East team in the LHSBCA High School All-Star game.

“I was very proud of our season,” Young said. “We didn’t reach the big goal but still accomplished a lot. We won a district championship and that was one of our goals. I feel like I gave it my all and so did our team.

“The award means a lot,” Young said. “Just knowing that I wasn’t satisfied with everything. Even though I won it and it was an accomplishment, I wasn’t being complacent. I was ready to get back to work so I could accomplish the same goal this year.”

After being a part of Walker’s historical run a year ago that featured the school’s first Class 5A state championship, Cook was instrumental in leading the Wildcats back to the state tournament where they reached the state title game once again.

The Wildcats were in contention to win another such crown but went cold over the final two minutes of play and watched Thibodaux celebrate its first state championship.

Thibodaux coach Tony Clark was chosen the Class 5A boys Coach of the Year for his efforts.

Captain Shreve vs Denham Springs Class 5A Championship Alexius Horne Jalia Redd

Denham Springs High's Alexius Horne (31) earned her third-straight appearance on the Class 5A All-State first team.

The Wildcats, who were also represented on the All-State team by honorable mention selection Brian Thomas Jr., followed the lead of Cook, who improved his scoring average 10 points above his sophomore season.

“I feel like he’s earned all of these honors,” Walker coach Anthony Schiro said of Cook. “He has put in the time it takes to be as good as he is. This is the first time it’s been done at our school. That’s special in itself.”

The 6-foot Cook, who was joined on the first team by Scotlandville’s Reece Beekman, scored 1,152 points for an astounding 29.5 average that included a career-high 48 in a regular-season win over Landry-Walker.

“Everybody knew I had to score more for the team this year,” Cook said. “I give credit to my teammates, some of which weren’t scorers. When they got the ball, they did a good job of looking for me, finding me in great spots and getting me open whether that was a pass or screen. That freed me a little extra to make shots.”

Moreover, Cook averaged 28.8 points during the postseason – highlighted by a high of 37 in a semifinal win over Ouachita – and was chosen the state tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

There was more to Cook’s game than just scoring, grabbing 5.1 rebounds, handing out 4.7 assists with 2.8 steals.

“A lot of people like to critique or criticize me because I’m on top,” Cook said. “I’ve got to stay humble and keep a positive attitude; a mental toughness. Just stay hungry for more success.”

Class 5A All-State

BOYS

First team

Player | School | Ht. | Cl. | Avg.

Kobi Johnson | Thibodaux | 5-9 | Sr. | 10.3

Jalen Cook | Walker | 6-0 | Jr. | 29.5

St. Augustine vs Scotlandville boys basketball Reece Beekman

Scotlandville's Reece Beekman (2) was named the MVP of the Division I state tournament after helping the Hornets to a state championship.

Paul King | Ouachita | 5-9 | Sr. | 15.4

Elijah Morgan | Jesuit 6-1 | Sr. | 19.8

Reece Beekman | Scotlandville | 6-3 | Jr. | 22.1

Second team

Player | School | Ht. | Cl. | Avg.

Marvin Robertson | Thibodaux 6-1 | Sr. | 14.2

CJ Carpenter | Natchitoches Central | 6-1 Sr. | 24.0

Rodney Munson | Bonnabel | 5-11 | Sr. | 21.2

Kalil Thomas | Holy Cross | 6-3 | Sr. | 15.4

Kentrell Garnett | Catholic | 6-1 | Jr. | 19.3

OUTSTANDING PLAYER: JALEN COOK, WALKER

COACH OF THE YEAR: TONY CLARK, THIBODAUX

HONORABLE MENTION - Anthony Ruffin, Terrebonne; Kendrick Delahoussaye, Lafayette; Jaqualon Lovette, New Iberia; Quez Owens, Ouachita; Shadon Green, Landry-Walker; Dywan Griffin, Landry-Walker; Devon Jefferson, St. Augustine; Tai’Reon Joseph, Scotlandville; SD Ellis, Southwood; Daniel Ortiz, Southwood; TJ Robinson, Airline; Deondre Buggage, H.L. Bourgeois; Ja’Khi Douglas, Terrebonne; Rashaud Winslow, Thibodaux; Alex Sanders, Central Lafourche, Rashod Robinson, Thibodaux, Rodney Pete, Barbe; Darrell Washington, LaGrange; Gary Smith, Dutchtown; Brian Thomas Jr., Walker; Collin Holloway, Catholic; Gary Smith Dutchtown.

GIRLS

First team

Player | School | Ht. | Cl. | Avg.

Niya McGuire | Ouachita | 5-11 | Sr. | 19.7

Jerkalia Jordan | John Curtis | 5-9 | Jr. | 17.0

Kennedi Heard | Captain Shreve | 5-9 | Sr. | 13.8

Tiara Young | Walker | 5-10 | Sr. | 29.3

Alexius Horne | Denham Springs | 5-9 | Sr. | 18.0

Second team

Player | School | Ht. | Cl. | Avg.

Jill Poullard | Sam Houston | 5-6 | Sr. | 18.0

Haley Giaratano | Ponchatoula | 5-9 | Sr. | 23.0

Abryhia Irons | John Curtis | 5-7 | Sr. | 15.0

Jordan Berry | Mt. Carmel | 5-5 | Sr. | 17.0

Diniaa McZeal | East Ascension | 5-4 | Sr. | 13.0

OUTSTANDING PLAYER: TIARA YOUNG, WALKER

DSHS girls basketball Desiree Jones

Jones

DSHS girls basketball Kate Thompson

Thompson

COACH OF THE YEAR: KEITH GREENE, CAPTAIN SHREVE

HONORABLE MENTION - Bre Owens, Ruston; Faith Robinson, West Monroe; Antiesha Griffin, Alexandria; J’unti Franklin, Natchitoches Central; Jeriah Warren, LaGrange; Nashalie Dominguez, H.L. Bourgeois; Kayland Jones, Thibodaux; Marianna Charles, H.L. Bourgeois; Bren’nasia Adams, Thibodaux; Salma Bates, John Curtis; Alana Donaldson, Chalmette; Addison Martin, Captain Shreve; Aaliyah Stevenson, Captain Shreve; Kayla Hampton, Airline; Kyla Hamilton, Sam Houston; Aasia Sam, LaGrange; Erica Lafayette, McKinley; Tristen Washington, East Ascension; Desiree Jones, Denham Springs; Brandy Scott, Hammond; Amoura Graves, Ponchatoula; Kate Thompson, Denham Springs.

Locations