Posted On: 12/31/17 8:20 PM
For those who asked for good high school basketball as a Christmas gift, they were treated to plenty of it in north Louisiana. From Shreveport-Bossier to Sterlington and West Monroe, fans got to see some great basketball action. Some teams, after this week, will go into 2018 with momentum to begin (or continue) district play. Others will look to bounce back from disappointment from the week that was. Here are five takeaways from the holiday hoops action of the week.
1.) BTW-Shreveport is streaking
The Lions of BTW began the Doc Edwards tournament with only five wins on the season. However, after a close lose to Red River in the first round, they have looked like a renewed team. Seniors Leon Chambers and Letreveon Jones led BTW to wins against Plain Dealing, ASH, and district rival Benton to secure the consolation bracket title. With this three game winning streak, they continue district play by hosting Northwood-Shreveport on Tuesday before finishing tournament play during the Bossier Invitational. If they continue their good play, this stretch could go a long way in determining how their season ends.
2.) Red River is on a roll
District 2A might have another team with a legitimate shot at making it to Lake Charles in March and it is the Red River Bulldogs. Even though they lost in double overtime to tournament runner up Airline in the semifinals (all of their starters fouled out), they were clearly the second best team during the tournament. Emaryeon McDonald has put teams on notice that he is a player to be reckoned with. As a freshman, he was named to the all-tournament team. In the third place game against Parkway, the Bulldogs defense created double digit turnovers which allowed layups and dunks by Chris Moore and Jessie Davis. If those post and wing players continue their strong play from this tournament, district 3-2A might be theirs for the taking.
3.) St. Amant takes the Doc Edwards tournament title
Guards K. J. Franklin (Jr.) and Jimmie Pittman (Sr.), along with the rest of the Gators, struggled a little bit during the first two games of the Doc Edwards tournament. They scored less than 50 points against ASH and struggled in a win against a young Parkway team. However, whatever holiday hangover the guards and team had, they shook it off. The guard duo scored 47 of the team’s 82 points en route to their first tournament championship in three tries this season. Franklin bombed Airline by hitting long range shots from excess of 23 feet while Pittman showed why Division 2 and 3 schools are recruiting him using his superior court vision finding cutters over and over for layups. This 5-5A team displayed why they a top five, 5A team with this dominant victory. They also ride a seven game win streak into the new year.
4.) Madison Prep showed their championship DNA
Madison Prep traveled up to north Louisiana to play the two best teams in the Shreveport-Bossier area – Woodlawn-Shreveport and Bossier High. Even though they trailed in each game the majority of both games, they prevailed in each one. Coach Jeffrey Jones and his squad displayed the resolve which allowed them to win the 2A state title in 2017 during both games. Of course, it helps to have UL- Lafayette signee Kobe Julien to go to at the end of games. On Friday, Julien (along with sophomore Malik Gray) led the comeback charge which resulted in senior Tyler Brooks hitting two free throws to pull ahead with ten seconds left. On Saturday he scored the last field goal and contested Jacoby Decker’s jumper as time expired. Traveling up north to garner two quality wins will give Madison Prep a much needed boost going into 2018.
5.) Rayville keeps rolling along
While the 2A defending champion was playing top competition from northwest Louisiana, Rayville continued their undefeated streak in northeast Louisiana winning the Sidney Smith tournament. Saturday night’s win allowed Rayville to collect their third tournament title this season with a ten point victory over 2-5A West Monroe. With a record of 15-0, Rayville looks like they would have been on a collision for another matchup against Madison Prep if MP had not moved up a classification. Seniors Kameron Hunter and Nashun Ellis will lead the Hornets into another district tilt with Vidalia on Tuesday followed by the Ouachita tournament on next weekend. If they continue their domination there, district 2A will be on the verge of a rematch for the state championship.