As the Carnival season goes into full swing, high school basketball players are focusing on the LHSAA state playoffs, whose boys and girls brackets were announced today. And as always, the Greater New Orleans area has an abundance of teams heading for the post-season.
The question is, how many will survive the next two weeks of elimination to punch their tickets to the championship tournaments in Ruston on March 8-10? That’s what we will examine today.
Thirty-five boys’ teams qualified for the playoffs, which begin on Feb. 21. Fourteen drew seeds 1-through-16 and will host first round games. On the girls’ side, 37 teams continue their seasons; 13 will also begin the playoffs at home, but a day earlier (Feb. 20).
Boys coaches are trying to convince opposing coaches to agree to play on Monday, Feb. 20 as well because of Mardi Gras falling on Feb. 21. So the original schedule may be altered over the weekend.
Breaking down the boys’ brackets, the highest area Class 5A seed is East. St. John, which drew the No. 5. seed. At No. 2, St. Augustine is the highest seed of the locals in Class 4A and Salmen was placed at No. 4 on opposite ends of the bracket.
Just one school – McMain – will host a first round game in Class 3A at No. 14, while District 10-2A co-champions, John Curtis and Riverside Academy, are seeded Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in 2A. Country Day is the lone Class 1A seed at home in the opener, and Phoenix is the No. 6 seed and also playing in their confines.
The schools that drew high seeds on the girls’ side are: are Archbishop Chapelle (7) in Class 5A, Salmen (3), McDonogh 35 (7) and Warren Easton (8) in 4A; St. James (3) in 3A, and John Curtis (3) in Class 2A. The highest seed in 1A is St. Martin’s at No. 14.
Now, let’s break down the brackets:
Class 5A – The top four seeds: 1. Scotlandville (30-2), 2. Ouachita Parish (22-7), 3. Airline (25-6) and West Monroe (21-8).
No. 5 East St. John (22-6) vs. No. 28 John Ehret (15-10). ESJ won the district are beat Ehret twice.
No. 9 Covington (23-6) vs. No. 24 New Iberia (16-11). The Lions won 11 of 12 district games and are on an 11-game win streak. NISH finished third in the “Bayou District” but has a signature win over 3A power Patterson.
On the road again:
No. 21 Brother Martin (18-11) at No. 12 Zachary (23-8). The Crusaders have faced strong competition throughout the season and is battle-tested. Zachary’s lost two district games to No. 1 Scotlandville, but the results were close and could have gone either way.
No. 22 Destrehan (19-12) at No. 11 Comeaux (20-10). Both have comparable and this one could go either way. The winner will most likely get No. 6 Westgate.
On the hot seat:
No, 18 Bonnabel (16-7) at No. 15 Lafayette (17-10). The Lions have home-court advantage but the Bruins have a 700-game winner in Coach Glen Dyer. Regardless, the winner gets either No. 2 Ouachita or No. 31 Jesuit, which lost to Bonnabel early in the season.
No. 19 Higgins (19-12) at McKinley (18-11). They’re on the hot seat because the vistor has thre dubious task of going against No. 3 Airline (25-6) unless No. 30 Terrebonne (15-14) knows something we don’t.
OMG!: No. 31 Jesuit (15-15) at No. 2 Ouachita (22-7). The Blue Jays lost momentum by dropping their season finale to Rummel, but don’t be surprised if this game is close. Ouachita has the firepower, but Jays Coach Chris Jennings has an offense that came be frustrating to offense-minded teams that forget to play on both ends of the court. The winner could go a long way.
No. 32 St. Paul’s (15-13) at No. 1 Scotlandville. The Wolves won six of their last seven games to finish second to Covington in District 6-5A, but is that momentum enough to surprise the Hornets, whose only two setback were incurred in an Arkansas tournament?
Class 4A – Top four seeds –1. Peabody (30-1), 2. St. Augustine (32-3), 3. Northside (26-3), 4. Salmen (20-2). Again, the strongest field of the seven classes in Louisiana.
No. 2 St. Augustine (32-3) vs. No. 32 Morgan City (16-13), The Purple Knights are the 2011 Class 5A champions and would like to do it in this tougher class by beating No. 1 Peabody on March 10. Rush with veteran talent, St. Aug must still work its way through a bracket that includes No. 3. Northside, No. 6 St. Thomas More (23-6), No. 7 Washington-Marion (22-8) and No. 10 McDonogh 35 (21-7), their longtime neighborhood rival. Morgan City has yet to play an opponent of this calibre.
No. 4 Salmen (20-2) vs. No. 29 Lakeshore (13-11). The two are in the same district with the Spartanns winning by 16- and 27-point margins and appear to be a semifinalist on their side of the 4A bracket.
No. 10 McDonogh 35 (21-7) vs. No. 23 Wossman (15-8). Won the 9-4A title by a game over O. Perry Walker. Two losses were to St. Aug, one to Walker and three more to Top 10 teams. The only shocker was a setback to 12-16 Slidell. There are no distinguishable wins for Wossman, which has been historically competitive.
On the road again:
No. 22 Shaw (16-10) at No. 11 Alexandria (20-8). Hall of Fame coach Jim Robarts led the Eagles to a winning record despite not having spring or summer workouts because of his late hiring. They will be well prepared for the Trojans, who have throttled most of their opponents, except for the district champion Peabody War Horses, who throttled them twice in a manner mythologists would admire.
No. 27 East Jefferson (18-12) at No. 6 St. Thomas More (23-6). Coach Ryan Dicherry and his staff has built a competitive group of athletes, who lost a tiebreaker with Holy Cross for second place in 10-4A. They wioll have a difficult time on the road to Lafayette where the Cougars reign supreme.
On the hot seat:
No. 15 Holy Cross (22-9) vs. No. 18 Opelousas (18-9). The Tigers, who returned the nucleus of their 2011 Class 3A semifinalist team, was unfortunately but properly placed in a district with St. Aug. But they still finished second. Like Holy Cross, OHS has also played a competitive schedule, but, as it has been with most opponents, their eyes will widen when they enter “The Palace.” By the way, to the victor goes the Purple Knights, who have routed the Tigers three times.
No. 14 O. Perry Walker (18-8) vs. No. 19 Tioga (22-9). The Chargers has the personnel to be a potential Top 10 team, but they kept falling short in a tough district. But they did upset McDonogh 35 to state their case. Tioga must have a great deal of ability considering all the games they won in a district that includes Peabody and Alexandria.
Class 3A – Top four seeds: 1. Bossier (27-2), 2. Richwood (26-6), 3. Carroll (17-7), 4. Port Allen (21-8).
Home cookin’ and on the hot seat:
No. 14 McMain (25-6) vs. No. 19 Jennings (18-11). The Mustangs are on a 2-game victory streak since losing to 1A Crescent City on Dec. 30. They swept their district, but barely got past De La Salle and Reed, both of whom gained playoff berths. They are on the hot seat because a victory will likely put them against No. 4 Port Allen (on the road).
On the road again:
No. 25 De La Salle (18-10) at No. 8 Brusly (21-8). The Cavaliers have a quality coach in Chris Biehl, who has built a competitive team around the Thomas brothers – Troy and Anthony. But they face long odds at Brusly, which survived a district whose top four teams had winning records.
No. 24 Loranger (19-7) at No. 9 Parkview Baptist (18-11). District champion Bogalusa snapped Loranger’s six-game victory streak and a few losses to break-even opponents cost the Wolves a workable seed. Parkview closed nicely by winning nine of its last
On the hot seat:
No. 18 Bogalusa (17-10) at No. 15 Crowley (15-12). This is another toss-up whose winner will face No. 2 Richwood.
No. 29 Sarah Reed (15-8) at No.; 4 Port Allen (21-8). An admirable showing for the Olympians by finishing second to McMain in 10-3A. But they didn’t do enough early work to get out of the bottom four seeding.
Class 2A – Top four seeds: 1. John Curtis (25-3), 2. Riverside Academy (29-9), 3. St. Thomas Aquinas (25-5), 4. Mansfield (24-7)
No. 1 Curtis vs. No. 32 (Cohen (11-16). The Patriots seem to have a walk-over through the semifinals (assuming they get past either Newman or Jonesboro-Hodge in the quarters). They split with the reigning class champion, Riverside, to share the District 10-2A title (there was no playoff) and are probably looking forward to a rubber-match in the finals. For Cohen, which has already lost to Curtis, it’s an O.M.G!
No. 2 Riverside vs. No. 31 Ferriday (10-12). The Rebels played well most of the season, having lost most of their games out of state. But at times, they were lackluster. Their biggest wins game against Curtis (105-93) and against a banged-up St. Augustine (83-77). Ferriday has limped through the last three games, all losses.
No. 9 Newman (22-7) vs. No. 24 Kinder. Newman is the most storied team in this class and having another fabulous season under Coach Thomas Todd. The Greenies coasted through a 10-0 district schedule and has beaten 5A Jesuit twice. But they have lost twice to Curtis, which would be their quarterfinal round opponent should they get that far. Kinder went 9-5 in a competitive district, but has lost to a Class B and C team.
Class 1A – Top four teams: 1. Central Catholic (23-4), 2. Southern Lab (21-10), 3. Christian Life (21-5), 4. White Castle (22-7).
Note: All five local teams are from District 10-1A. Just one is home.
No. 8 Country Day (18-13) vs. No. 25 Crescent City (13-17). The Cajuns have routed their playoff guest twice in district play, but it’s not the kind of team Metairie Park fans are used to seeing. Yet Coach Mike McGuire’s guys have held a position on the Top 10 poll through most of the season. The Pioneers have a notable 40-37 win over highly-seeded Class 3A McMain.
On the road again:
No. 23 Ecole Classique (14-17) at No. 10 St. Mary’s (21-7). It’s almost not fair to have to drive to Natchitoches unless it’s Christmas time. But the Spartans, who tied St. Martin’s for third place in a battle of attrition, will face a perennially winning program that’s on a seven-game victory streak in the hill country.
No. 30 Ridgewood (14-12) at No. 3 Christian Life (21-5). Since beating 0-18 Lutheran, Ridgewood has lost its last six games en route to facing a Baton Rouge 1A power that’s won nine of its last 10 games and has wins over Brother Martin and McDonogh 35 in the Newman Tournament.
No. 29 St. Martin’s (8-18) at No. 4 White Castle (22-7). Take your hat off to the Saints for making the 32-team playoff field. They did it by virtue of picking on giants to gain power points. But they will be severely tested by the Bulldogs, who swept their 10 team district and have won 11 straight.
Class C – Top four seeds: 1. Atlanta (29-1), 2. Pelican (21-7), 3. Northside Christian (21-7), 4. Elizabeth (26-11).
No. 6 Phoenix (30-5) vs. No. 27 Assembly Christian (9-17). A weak district cost this outstanding team a higher seed, but it has the ability to go deep into the playoffs even though these Spartans may have to face No. 3 Northside Christian in the quarterfinals. Assembly Christian from New Iberia should be a testy opener.
No. 26 First Baptist (8-18) at No. 7 Family Christian (24-10). Hopefully, David was Baptist because the Eagles, which has no trouble winning their last three games, will nonetheless need a big stone to hurl at the host Flames.
Tomorrow: the girls' playoff preview.
|< Prev||Next >|