COUGARS LED BY TALENTED CENTER
The Karr High School Cougars girls squad are already much improved over last season. That is because their best player, 6-foot-3 post Diamante Martinez, is healthy.
Martinez missed all of last season after suffering a foot injury in the team's opening game. Without her, the Cougars were a .500 team.
Head coach Jessica Barber said life without Martinez was tough.
"You run all over your stuff (plays), thru her," said Barber. "And then all of a sudden, she isn't there."
Martinez signed in the early period in November with Tulane University. She averaged a double-double as a sophomore. This season, Barber said Martinez routinely scores "19 or 20 points, grabs 10 rebounds, and blocks 8 or 9 shots" per game.
The Karr lineup is thin but talented.
Sophomore guard Imani Mulmore and freshman point guard Destiny Collins form a formidable backcourt. The 5-foot-9 Collins draws extra praise from Barber.
"She is amazing," said Barber.
A pair of transfers, guards Rehema Franklin and Paige Williams, are expected to be eligible in early January, but not in time for the Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic.
Barber, who prepped at Franklinton High School and played college basketball at the University of Mobile, said she is excited about her team playing in the tournament.
"This high level of competition is good for girls basketball."
Barber is a self professed basketball junkie. "I can't imagine doing anything else," said Barber.
The Karr coach learned a lot about basketball under the tutelage of legendary AAU coach Charlie Domino and former Tulane star and AAU coach Stacy Gaudet Berry. "Their passion for the game is unmatched," said Barber.
The Cougars are a team on the rise, and a measuring stick for the Karr squad comes in the 2014 Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic.