Posted On: 12/26/17 4:37 PM
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, especially if you are a basketball fan. Holiday season is the time of giving, and we were gifted an incredible lineup of holiday hoops, starting with Lafayette Christian Academy’s Showcase Classic, which featured potential state champions from 3-4 different classes and divisions. I would like to thank Lafayette Christian for their excellent hospitality, and I look forward to returning to the tournament again next season. Here are the 5 biggest takeaways I had from Day 2 of the tournament.
Opelousas is a team that I don’t expect many to have a big grasp on this season, but they have exceeded expectations so far this year. I was expecting a bit of a down year for them this season, with a new coach in Lorenso Williams taking time to put in a new system, and them relying on many new players, but they came into the tournament with only two losses on the season. So I wasn’t totally surprised when Opelousas started their game against U-High down 18-0. However, what did surprise me was Opelousas’ relentless spirit, and that despite being down big to start the game, the Tigers never folded. They were able to go on big runs in the 2nd and 3rd quarter to make it a game. I was really impressed with 6’5 F Quincy Ledet, who hit some big 3s and was able to score in the paint, finishing with a game high 24 They ended up losing the game by 3, but the fact that they even made it a game in the first place says a lot.
2, Madison Prep is a much different team without Josh LeBlanc
This was my first time seeing Madison Prep since Josh LeBlanc has been sidelined with a broken foot. They are hoping to get the Georgetown signee and top 70 player in the nation back around the beginning of February, meaning that they will be spending a large portion of the regular season without him. Before you start feeling too bad for the chargers, remember that they have at least three other D1 players on the team in 2018 Jharon Whitfield and Kobe Julien, and 2019 Jahein Spencer, but they are still adjusting to playing without him. Kobe Julien and Jharon Whitfield both struggled a bit in their game against Westgate, but young players for Madison Prep stepped up and they were able to win a nail-biter. Madison Prep was able to rotate in 12-13 players in the game, and their depth was able to be a big factor down the stretch of a game that they were down 8 with 2:30 in the game.
3, LCA has the potential to be dominant defensively
LCA took on West Jeff, and they were able to come away with a big win, 78-48. Now for Knight’s teams of the past, they might have played down to their competition and made this game closer than it needed to be, like they did in the Showcase Classic last season in a loss against Abbeville. However, this years team wasn’t going to let that happen. West Jeff was barely able to get the ball past half court for most of the game, as LCA’s 2-2-1 trap was able to effectively get the ball out of 2019 West Jeff G Dajour Lloyd’s hand, and they made other players beat them. LCA ran away with the win.
4. Carencro is one of the longest teams in the state
Carencro is one of the top teams in 4A, so of course they have the talent to compete with any team any night. One of the things that is able to separate Carencro, however, is the incredible amount of length that they possess. Their front court starts a long, 6’7 Sr. Jeremiah August, a long 6’5 Fr. Joe Charles, and a springy athletic workhorse in 6’4 Sr. Braylon Chaisson. They also have size and length at the guard spots, all of which is a recipe for disaster for most opponents that the Bears face, this time in a 14 point win against defending 4A state champion Washington Marion. This gave them their 4th straight win, including two other wins against Sophie B. Wright and Landry-Walker, both of whom are state title contenders.
5. Westgate has the potential to be scary
In their match-up against Madison Prep, Westgate was in control for most of the game. They started out as the aggressor, going up 12-3 to start the game, and only gave up the lead once in the first half. It was much of the same story in the 2nd half, as Westgate was up by 8 points with just 2:30 to go in the game. However, turnovers, bad shots, bad fouls, and poor defense in those last few minutes were able to give Madison Prep the 3 point win in the end. However, that loss should not take a way just how tough that Westgate was able to play one of the best teams in the state, and hopefully Westgate will use it as a learning experience, especially if they want to make another run at a final four in March.