Posted On: 11/28/18 6:27 PM
Its the third year of Sophie B. Wright’s Tournament of Champions and coach Jason Bertrand has assembled a good group of 15 teams including two from Texas. The tournament will be played from Wednesday-Saturday (Nov. 28-Dec. 1) at Wright and Crescent City with semifinal games tipping off on Friday at 7 and 8:30 p.m. Both semifinal games will be at Wright along with Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. championship game.
The top half of the bracket includes Madison Prep on a bye with matchups between Hahnville and Cy-Fair (TX), Crescent City and M.L. King, and St. Thomas More and KIPP Renaissance. The bottom half has games between Wright and Thurgood Marshall (TX), Riverside and Lusher, McDonogh 35 and Salmen, and Country Day vs. East Ascension.
Hahnville could be a tough out but Cy-Fair (TX) should get past them setting up a matchup with Madison Prep. While the Chargers did lose Josh LeBlanc to Georgetown and Kobe Julien to Louisiana-Lafayette, they still have an impressive collection of talent led by 2019 G Jahein Spencer, 2020 G Jason Perry and 2020 F Jordan Johnson. Neither team has played more than two games and I don’t know much about Cy-Fair outside of 2019 G Larenz Williams, but I think the’ll slip past a Chargers team that hasn’t had much time on the court together yet.
Crescent City and defending TOC and Division II champ St. Thomas More should meet in the second quarterfinal game of the top bracket. It will be STM’s second game of the season (assuming a win over KIPP Renaissance while the Pioneers are already 3-4. Don’t be fooled by their record, though, as Crescent City has faced some stout competition and I expect them to advance to the semis as one of the area’s better teams.
If Wright can get by Thurgood Marshall (TX) in the first round, it should meet Riverside in the top half of the bottom bracket of the tournament. The host Warriors are one of the state’s best teams with two Division I commitments in Rhode Island’s Gregory Hammond and Southern-BR’s Damiree Burns. 6-foot-6 W Charlie Russell could also join that list and they should be able to get by Riverside to reach the semifinals.
Country Day should join Wright in the semifinals after wins over East Ascension in the first round and most likely McDonogh 35 in the second. The Cajuns return most of last year’s team that reached the Division III semifinals and they should be a top contender in the area once again.
A Cy-Fair vs. Crescent City matchup is tough to predict but I’m leaning towards Cy-Fair beginning to find a rhythm as the Pioneers wear down from a tough schedule early on. Crescent City burned out a bit in this tournament last year and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the same happen this time around. Williams will also be looking to put on a show in his return to the city.
Wright vs. Country Day should be one of the better games of the tournament. Both teams are capable of putting up big numbers on offense but very few teams have the depth and athleticism to match up with the Warriors.
Wright scored 100 and 89 points in its first two games of the season against in-state opponents and gutted out a 68-65 win against North Little Rock in the Lighthouse Classic. They’ll be motivated to prevail as champs in their own tournament and I’ll give them the nod over Cy-Fair in the title game.