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Posted On: 06/2/18 7:41 PM
The first team camp in north Louisiana ended on yesterday with some hard fought games to finish out the week long session. Neville High School hosted nine teams in a bracket style, one day tournament. When it was all said and done, newly crowned 2A state champion Rayville came out victorious. Before previewing anything else, we will recap key points from yesterday’s session.
A New Day for Franklin Parish
When the day started, Franklin Parish was trying to rebound from a 2-4 week. A win against Richwood and a good effort against Ruston probably would have satisfied coach (Lonnie) Cooper and ended the week on a good note. However, his troops kept playing. With a win against Richwood and a sudden death Robert Coleman layup to beat Ruston, they were playing the top rated team in north Louisiana for a chance to move to the tournament final. All they did against Rayville was keep applying offensive pressure the whole game. Point guard Allen Woods gave them a two point lead with under 2:30 seconds left before Rayville closed the door on any chances the Patriots had. Even in the lose, spectators can tell that Coach Cooper has Franklin Parish pointed in the right direction. They will look to carry that movement for the rest of the month.
The Carroll Bulldogs are back
Announcing that a team is back would usually means that they have been off the scene or have been a doormat in recent years. The Bulldogs are far from that. They were a quarterfinal team in class 3A playing in one of the toughest districts in the state. These group of Bulldogs seem to have taken that experience and learned from it. Carroll came out in their semifinal game against West Monroe pounded their opponent on the glass and basically rendered them to one shot. They played suffocating defense that only allowed the Rebels to score sixteen points en route to their championship game experience.
The championship game was the real reason why I believe Carroll is back. They took the fight to Rayville in ways that the Hornets have rarely seen over the past twelve months. Carroll was the aggressor for the majority of the game. Bulldog big men rebounded the ball better than the Hornets and scored easily around the rim. If not for the two three pointers at the end of the game that ended up being the difference, Carroll would have beaten the unbeaten Hornets. Losing in the fashion in which they lost tells me that they have the tenacity and toughness to take on the top teams. If the Bulldogs continue to play this way the rest of June, they will definitely be a force when the high school season begins.
Rayville is still the team to beat
There is something to be said about a team who takes on all comers and takes that team’s best shot repeatedly. The Rayville Hornets are that team. In yesterday’s semifinal and final, they played two teams that gave them their best shot and they still came out victorious. Even though they came out with both wins, those wins were gained in totally different ways.
In the semifinal win against Franklin Parish, it was the Mylik and Jamarkus Wilson show. Mylik showed why he was the number one player in 2019 by revealing all parts of his game. He would find gaps in the zone for jumpers, play the top of the press for steals, and drive to the basic when possible. Jamarkus showed that he could be a versatile player as well. Wilson shot the ball well from deep and pounded the smaller Franklin forwards in the paint. These guys lead their team to victory against the a resilient team as they have time and time again.
The final took much more effort. Carroll played harder than the Hornets for the last 20 minutes. The 27-11 lead they had the first 8 minutes turned into a five point deficit for most of the second half. This time, the hero was not a player named Wilson. Chris “CJ” Jones hit three triples in the waning minutes of the game to pull out the victory. Carroll keyed in on everyone named Wilson but did not account for Jones and they paid for it. The last three pointer, a corner shot, came with 1.5 seconds left. Even though Carroll was game, Rayville showed that they are still the cream of the crop in north Louisiana.
The end of the Neville team camp was just as thrilling as any in the regular high school season. Each semifinal and final game gave these players experiences on the basketball floor that they will need going forward. These three teams can use what they learned during these four days to catapult them to new heights as the summer goes on. In the case of Franklin Parish and Carroll, they can definitely grow from the experience of almost beating the top team in the north.