Two St. Mary’s athletes sign letters of intent to play college ball

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Thomas Howell signs his national letter of intent flanked by his brother, Aaron, and mother, Kim. Standing are Coach Tom Collins and team mate Jake Bankston. Howell will play basketball for the University of Louisiana at Monroe Warhawks.

By Carolyn Roy, carolyn@natchitochestimes.com

Two outstanding St. Mary’s High School athletes signed national letters of intent Wednesday, Nov. 13 at the school. Softball standout Ragan Hale committed to play for the Cardinals of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. All-star Thomas Howell committed to play basketball for the Warhawks at the University of Louisiana in Monroe.

Ragan Hale signs her national letter of intent to play softball at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. She is between her parents, Shannon and Ken Hale. Standing is softball Coach Stephen Wren.  Photos by Carolyn Roy

With yet another season to go, Hale is a senior at St. Mary’s where she has a career batting average of .468. Hale has been a starter on the SMH Varsity Softball Team since she was in the sixth grade. She helped lead the Tigers to their first State Championship tournament where they were runners-up. She batted .505 during the tournament.

Hale plays select ball for the Louisiana Bombers Gold. She had numerous offers from in-state and out-of-state universities and went on visits to those these schools before choosing Lamar University. Hale is a six-time first team All-District selection; three–time first team All-State; three-time Shreveport Times All-area team; three-time Shreveport Times Best of Preps in Northwest Louisiana; and three-time Alexandria Town Talk All-Cenla Team. “She has worked very hard to achieve this,” said softball coach Stephen Wren. “What will carry her and make her a success at the next level is her hard work, leadership ability and the way she is a great teammate.”

Hale is the daughter of Shannon and Ken Hale. “She has wanted to play softball and made it her goal since she was 4 years old playing her first Dixie youth game,” said her mother.

Howell is a Natchitoches native where he was raised by his parents, Amy Howell and the late John Howell. He has one older brother, Aaron, who attends Northwestern State and plays football. Howell is a 6 foot, 7 inch senior where he is a six-year member of the Tiger basketball team. He lettered five of those years. Howell has scored 1,148 points in his career at St. Mary’s thus far and pulled down 1,121 rebounds.

He has already broken the all-time block record with 301 blocks and counting. He is on pace to break points scored and rebounds records as well. Howell was a two-time All State selection in his sophomore and junior seasons. He is also a two-time All Cenla selection and was the 2018-19 All Cenla Player of the Year. He was a Shreveport Times All Area player for the 2018-19 season. Howell is a two-year first team All-District selection for his sophomore and junior years and was All-District honorable mention for his freshman season. He was named District 3-1A MVP for his sophomore season.

He led the Tigers in scoring each of the last two years, his sophomore season leading the Tigers with 18.4 PPG, 15.2 RPG, 3.7 BPG. In his junior year he would only get better averaging 22.2 PPG, 17.0 RPG and 5.0 BPG. He led the Tigers to a State runner-up finish in 2018 and is close to another Top 28 in 2019. Howell had a quadruple-double in a game versus Ebarb Jan. 5, the only ones to be recorded in St. Mary’s history. He had 21 points, 18 rebounds, 10 blocks and added 10 assists. He has been named the team MVP the last two years. “He’s an amazing player,” said basketball coach Tom Collins. “We are glad to have had him on our squad and glad to have been a part of his life. He just keeps getting better. We look forward to great things in the future.”

Howell is ready to lead the Tigers into his senior campaign with his main goal, getting the team back to the Top 28.