NWLA Weekly Notebook Presented By Southern Classic Chicken • May 24

by Lee Hiller // Northwest Louisiana High School Correspondent

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Byrd, Benton name new coaches, Cunningham steps down at Calvary

Byrd High School Principal Jerry Badgley named CJ Hyslop as its next head basketball coach to replace Rusty Johnson who retired recently after 32 years of coaching.

Hyslop formerly played for former Byrd Yellow Jacket Kyle Blankenship at LSU-Shreveport and had been coaching at Midland High in Morse, Louisiana. Hyslop is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma and transferred to LSUS after his freshman year at Rogers State in Claremore Oklahoma.  While at LSUS, Hyslop was selected to the All-Red River Conference Champions of Character Team in 2014-15. 

Benton High School Principal Teri Howe announced the hiring of Dane Peavy as its next head baseball coach. Peavy replaces JD Stephens who resigned  recently to spend more time with his family. 

Peavy is no stranger to Bossier Parish having been an assistant under head baseball coach Toby Todd at Airline in 2017 before he took over at DeRidder. Peavy led the Dragons to a 23-12 record this past season and the second round of the LHSAA Class 4A playoffs. He was the head coach at North Webster High School in Springhill in 2016 leading the Knights to a 25-8 mark and was named The Times All-Area Coach of the Year.

Shannon Cunningham, head baseball coach at Calvary the past five seasons, announced Friday he was stepping down from his position with the Cavs.

Cunningham picked up his 400th coaching win this season and led the Cavs to the Division IV state semifinals and a 26-8 record. The veteran coach found success as coach at Byrd, Southwood and North DeSoto. He led the Yellow Jackets to the playoffs all three years at Byrd and all six years he spent at his alma mater Southwood. 

Former Red River High School standout girls basketball player Kim Burton has been named to take over the girls basketball program at the Coushatta school. Burton replaces longtime coach Jamie Antilley who retired recently to free up more time to follow her daughter Kaitlyn’s  playing aspirations following her graduation from the school. 

Burton recently earned her master’s degree from UL Lafayette after playing five seasons for the Ragin’ Cajuns. She helped lead the Cajuns to the Sun Belt Conference title her senior season. 

The Lady Bulldogs have been to the playoffs nine consecutive seasons. They were state runners-up in 2020 and reached the state semifinals the previous four seasons. 

All-Stars named for Baseball, Softball

Northwest Louisiana had four named to play in the 2021 East-West Baseball Louisiana High School Coaches Association/Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association All-Star games at Louisiana College in Pineville. 

Selected to play for the West squad were Grayson Gates and Clint Lasiter of Benton, Carter Griffin from Haughton and St. Mary’s Patrick Vienne in the games that took place Friday and Saturday. The East won both games by scores of 6-0 and 4-0.

The LHSCA/LSCA Softball All-Star games were played the previous week on May 14-15 in Alexandria.

Representing the area that played on the West Squad were Raelin Chaffin, Airline, Riley Walker and Madison Cory from Calvary, Madison Trujillo, Haughton and Laney Taylor of Lakeside. 

The West defeated the East in both games taking the first one 10-1 on Friday and 6-5 in the second game Saturday. Calvary’s Walker was named the Most Valuable Player for the West in the second game win.