You Can’t Go Home Again. Not only is this the title of one of Thomas Wolfe’s most memorable works, it has also become a well-known and common phrase. However, Alicia Dedeaux is ignoring this advice and doing the exact opposite: Coming Home.
Woodlawn High School is excited to announce that Dedeaux has been named the head coach of the girls’ basketball team. In addition to her duties as head basketball coach, she will take on the role of PE teacher.
Dedeaux, a native of Baton Rouge, graduated from Woodlawn High School. She was a star-athlete during her time as a Panther, participating in basketball, softball, cross country, and tennis. She was recognized as an All-District and All-Metro basketball player.
“Timing is everything. To be able to return home to your Alma Mater as a head coach and former student-athlete is very special,” explained Dedeaux. “I desire to bring back Panther Pride through fostering healthy relationships with colleagues, parents, students, and the community. Together we can meet students where they are and ensure that they are able to continue to excel both academically and athletically.”
“I’m ecstatic to be back and looking forward to helping young ladies to reach their full potential on and off the court.”
Dedeaux has spent the last 16 years in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. After beginning her career as a head coach in Jackson, Mississippi, Dedeaux was named the head coach of the girls’ basketball program at Lee High School (now Liberty Magnet High School).
In the fall of 2009, Dedeaux was named the head coach of the girls’ basketball program at Glen Oaks High School. After spending one year at Glen Oaks, she was named the Athletic Director. Dedeaux has remained in both roles at Glen Oaks since that time.
“I think we have hired a high-quality, high-character coach to run our girls’ basketball program,” said Elmo Fernandez, Woodlawn High’s Athletic Director. “Coach Dedeaux comes to us with a great deal of experience and she has a proven record.”
Dedeaux resides in Baton Rouge with her husband and two children. She can be reached via email at [email protected]
In his two seasons as the Head Coach at Woodlawn High, Brad Voight has focused on building the foundation of the program. Coach Voight has stressed to his players that this includes excelling both on and off the court.
“We believe we are starting to set a very solid and sustainable foundation both on the court and in the classroom,” said Voight. “We will return three players who were recognized with All-District Honors. Our returning student-athletes have also done a great job in the classroom and are right at the 3.0 team GPA that was set as a goal before the season!”
Rickie Collins and Kyle Jones were each named to the District 5-5A All-District First Team for the 2020-2021 season. Collins, who was also named to the 2019-2020 team, looks to be in the mix for the District MVP next season. Collins averaged 17 points and 9 rebounds per game, and his shot blocking ability around the basket paid huge dividends for the Panthers this season.
Clayton Adams and Bryan Sledge were named to the District 5-5A Honorable Mention team. Sledge, who is a senior, average 11 points and 7 rebounds per game. His play on both ends of the court will be missed.
“Kyle Jones and Clayton Adams both return with Rickie, and both should have much improved seasons next year,” added Voight. “We will look to Clayton and Kyle to score more next year to make up for the loss of our seniors.”
The 2020-2021 season was marked by quarantines and streaks for the Panthers. After they opened their season with a win over St. Thomas Aquinas, Woodlawn was quickly placed on quarantine due to contact tracing and missed their next four games.
The Panthers returned to action to win their next five games, before suffering their first defeat of the season. Another five game win streak in early January, marked by a big win over Jehovah-Jireh, had Woodlawn poised to make a run at the district championship.
However, Covid-19 forced the Panthers to sit through another quarantine. When they were finally able to return to the court in early February, the team went 1-2 before being shut down again for two weeks leading into the playoffs.
Despite the roller coaster season, Woodlawn finished the season with a 17-7 record and were named the #20 seed in the LHSAA Class 5A State Tournament. The Panthers traveled to Gonzales to face the #13 seeded East Ascension Spartans, and fell in a close contest. Despite the season ending before the team wished, there were many bright spots to the season.
“We fill that we have that foundation built now,” concluded Voight. “We have kids working hard in the classroom and on the court. We have kids who expect to make the playoffs each year. We have kids that are looking forward to summer league. It’s an exciting time to be a Panther.”
Teams interested in joining the Woodlawn High Summer League should email Coach Voight at [email protected]
The Woodlawn Panther Basketball program was notified of its playoff seeding Monday, February 23rd, and the opponent is extremely familiar.
The Panthers will travel to face fellow District 5-5A member East Ascension. The Spartans received the #13 seed in the LHSAA Class 5A Playoff Bracket, meaning Woodlawn is the #20 seed. This is the third year that the Panthers have travelled in the first round of the playoffs. The 2018-2019 team was the 25th seed, and the 2019-2020 team was the 21st seed.
Given the obstacles that the season presented, Coach Voight and the Panthers are excited about the opportunity.
“Considering that seven or eight months ago, we were not sure if we would even have a season, we are extremely excited about the playoffs,” said Coach Voight. “We were unable to have summer league, our preseason workouts were pushed back, and we had to deal with quarantines. We are just grateful that we are in the position we are in.”
Despite being the higher ranked team, East Ascension comes into the contest with an 11-12 record. Coach Voight has already warned his team not to underestimate the Spartans based on this.
“Our players have already been cautioned about EA. They have some quality losses. Their losses have come to teams in the top-five, and top-ten, of their classifications. They have also beaten some quality teams, notably White Castle and Alexandria, who are both top ten teams.”
The Panthers and Spartans will be facing each other for the first time this season. The teams were scheduled to play on January 28th, but a Covid-19 quarantine postponed that game. The two coaching staffs discussed a makeup date, but weather and ice cancelled the last week of the season for both teams. This adds adversity for both programs, as each team will have been off for at least 13 days.
Coach Voight points to making shots and valuing possessions as keys to the game.
“I look for this game to be a grind, and we will need to hit some shots,” said Coach Voight. “We haven’t been able to do that during district. We have to keep them out of transition as much as possible, so we must limit turnovers.”
The Panthers and Spartans will tip-off on Friday, February 26th, 7 pm on the East Ascension campus. Tickets must be purchased on-line using a link that will be provided by East Ascension on Friday morning.
Despite a shortened season, the Lady Panther basketball team improved their season win total from 5 wins during the 2019-2020 season to 12 wins this season. The Lady Panthers finished the season with a 12-7 record, just falling short of the LHSAA Class 5A Playoffs.
The Lady Panthers were led by five underclassmen this season. Brianna Johnson, who is the Lady Panthers only senior, will be missed; however, the Lady Panthers will continue to build with the returning underclassmen.
“I am very excited about the future of this program,” explained Coach Kohn. “We are only losing Brianna Johnson. I am hoping we can build on the success we enjoyed this season and have an even better season next year.”
Sophomore forward Regan McDowell averaged a double-double for the Lady Panthers this season, averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds a game. Junior Quaindra Bell and sophomore Celine Thomas, along with the freshman duo of Ra’Nya Smith and Tralyn Riley, all helped to lead a balanced offensive attack for the Lady Panthers.
“We have five underclassmen who led us this year,” added Kohn. “We finished the season with eleven girls in the program, and we hope to continue to build with those girls.”
Included in the Lady Panthers 12 wins were two overtime wins. The Lady Panthers defeated Family Christian and Catholic-Point Coupee in games that showed Coach Kohn and the Lady Panthers that they were learning to win.
Different sport. Unfortunately, same story.
The Panther basketball team, like too many other programs on Woodlawn’s campus and around the state of Louisiana, have already been affected by COVID-19.
After a season opening 73-49 victory over St. Thomas Aquinas, the Panthers got the phone call that their season would be paused for two weeks. Because of the timing of the shut-down, Woodlawn has not been able to see their complete team on the practice court together.
“The football players were able to return to us the weekend before we played our first game,” said second year Head Coach Brad Voight.
“We received the call the day after our game, and we have not been able to practice as a collective team!”
The Panthers return a solid core from their team that finished the 2019-2020 season with a 24-11 record. Senior Guards Bryan Sledge, Ja’Viya Williams, and Jackson Howard are all returning to lead Coach Voight’s squad.
The return of football players to the basketball court gave the Panthers a significant boost, as returning Sophomore Rickie Collins was named to the first team All-District team last season. Coach Voight is also excited to see if some of the other two-sport athletes can be contributors this season.
“This should be a fun and exciting team to watch. Although we are in a different type of year with the pandemic, we still have players that have taken steps to become better players and more coachable athletes. Our depth should be better, but we will find that out for sure once we get an opportunity to put everything together on the practice floor.
When the Panthers return, they will hit the court at a full sprint, with an extremely busy schedule. Woodlawn will play four games between December 17th and December 22nd, before taking a short break for the Christmas holidays.
Woodlawn High will then face Tara in the first round of the EBR Parish Tournament on December 26th at 11 am at Scotlandville High. The Panthers were named the eighth seed in the parish tournament despite only having one game played.
Once the EBR Parish Tournament concludes, the Panthers are looking forward to District 5-5A play, which will begin on January 22nd with a game at Dutchtown High.
Coach Voight pointed out that each game the Panthers get to play this season is a blessing, because of the constant possibility of the program being shut down. He also spoke about the two goals that the program set for this season.
“The first goal is making the playoffs. You cannot win a state championship if you are not invited to state tournament! Second, we set the goal back in October to have a team GPA of a 3.0 this year. We feel that this is an attainable goal that our program can reach.”