Coushatta’s Taylor Lee Is Class C Boys Basketball Coach of the Year

Submitted by Ebarb High School

Ebarb High School’s historic season ends with the Ebarb Mighty Rebels as Class C State Runner-Up, senior Zach Parrie selected as Class C Boys Player of the Year, and Coach Taylor Lee voted Class C Boys Coach of the Year by a panel of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

Coach Lee recently took his Ebarb Might Rebels to the Class C state championship game in Lake Charles. Their first appearance since Ebarb won the state championship back in 1970. It was Lee’s first trip with the boys’ squad.

Lee had punched his ticket twice before with girl squads. The first in 2017 while coaching at Dodson High School, and two years ago, he led the Ebarb Lady Rebels to their first-ever state tournament appearance. He was awarded Coach of the Year honors for the Lady Rebels historic season in 2019 by the LSWA.

After assisting at Red River High School for one season, Coach Lee began his head coaching career at Dodson High School in Winn Parish. He inherited a girls team that had won two games the previous year. Three years later, he had them playing in the state semi-finals.

Lee left Winn in 2017 for Sabine Parish and its rich basketball tradition, hoping to revamp the once-great Ebarb basketball program. In his four years at Ebarb, he’s earned two district championships, two district coach of the year awards, two state tournament appearances, one State Championship Runner-Up trophy, and two state coach of the year awards.

Ebarb’s senior standout, Zach Parrie, took home the MVP award for Class C after a stellar senior season that was a fitting end to his legendary high school career. Parrie averaged 25.4 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, 4.8 assists per game, and 4.4 steals per game en route to claiming the award. The gifted scorer poured in 2,886 points during his career for the Rebels. To go along with his MVP award, he was named second team all-state as a junior and all state honorable mention as a sophomore. He was named all district four times and all parish three times. To cap off his career he was also chosen to represent the west squad in the Louisiana all-star game, reserved for the best players in the state.

This basketball season was like no other. There was much uncertainty if there would even be a season, but the LHSAA devised a plan to allow basketball to be played. The Rebels got off to a hot start at 3-1, but like many teams around the state, Ebarb had to cope with covid-19 protocols. At one point in the season, the team had only played one game in a four-week span due to consecutive 14-day quarantine periods. Coming out of the layoff, they struggled but got it back on track when it mattered most, to make a run deep into the playoffs. At the end of the regular season, Ebarb entered the playoffs as the sixth seed and earned an opening round home game.

They got things going in the playoffs by hosting the 11-seed Summerfield Rebels. Ebarb was outsized, but that didn’t faze the Mighty Rebels, as they cruised to a 61-43 victory. The Rebels won the game using a balanced scoring attack, with Ethan Ezernack scored a game high 18 points, Nathan Meshell added 16 with four three-pointers, and Parrie finished with 13 points.

With the regional victory, the Mighty Rebels took their show on the road. Quarterfinal stop at third-seeded Kilbourne. The Rebels took command of the game from the tip-off with red-hot shooting from Parrie and Meshell. The two combined for 51 points, including eight three-pointers by Meshell, to lead EHS to a 71-59 victory punching their ticket to the state tournament for the first time since 1970.

Next up, Class C semi-final game at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles. The Mighty Rebels faced the second-seeded Phoenix Spartans. Ebarb, trailing by 13 points in the third quarter, rallied to beat Phoenix 66-63. Parrie had a season-high 44 points in the victory, while fellow senior Connor Malmay added 10 points. With the win, EHS advanced to the Class C State Championship for the first time in 51 years.

Ebarb faced a familiar foe in the finals, district rival, and one-seed Simpson. The Mighty Rebels battled the entire game. With six seconds left in regulation, Parrie hit a three-pointer to send the game into overtime, but EHS fell short of getting the victory. Four Rebels finished the game in double digits, Parrie with 24 points, Ezernack and Alec Remedies each had 12 points, and Malmay finished with 11 points. Parrie was recognized, before the game, as the recipient of the Horizon Award for his outstanding citizenship and leadership at Ebarb High School.

Lee’s Mighty Rebels are losing their ‘dynamic duo’ in seniors Parrie and Malmay. “I can’t thank my seniors Zach and Connor enough. They have paved the way for years of success for Ebarb basketball. They have shown the younger players and younger kids in the community what is possible when you work hard and believe in your goals.”

Coach Lee is hopeful that the team will have continued success next season especially bringing back three starters and several younger players ready to step in and contribute in expanded roles. Lee reflected on the season,” I’m just so proud first of all. I’m proud of my guys for the way they approach each game and how they battle. This team is the definition of hard work. This has been the result of a lot of work behind the scenes and a belief in each other and what we are trying to accomplish. It takes a full team effort. Everyone on the team played an important role in the success of our season.”

Lee also acknowledged the valuable contributions of his assistant coaches Tanner Lee and Lee McClintock. Lee added, “I also want to thank our fans! The support from the Ebarb faithful, the community, and the parish was overwhelming and amazing! The sea of red in Burton Coliseum for the championship game will be an image I will never forget.”