5 select second-round matchups to watch | LHSAA Playoffs
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The opening round of the LHSAA’s boys basketball playoffs Thursday and Friday provided two overtime thrillers and another 23 nail-biters decided by five points or fewer. And the level of competition only ramps up Monday and Tuesday with the second…
The opening round of the LHSAA’s boys basketball playoffs Thursday and Friday provided two overtime thrillers and another 23 nail-biters decided by five points or fewer.
And the level of competition only ramps up Monday and Tuesday with the second round.
Here were five games on the schedule that caught our attention among the select divisions.
No. 9 St. Augustine at No. 8 John Ehret (Division-I)
One of the state’s proudest schools and programs takes the short trip across the Mississippi River to face a fellow New Orleans team led by one of the top senior prospects in the state. Talented forwardIII, his classmates Montel Robinson and Josh Grabert Jr. and several rising younger standouts will be waiting on the West Bank, as John Ehret hosts its first home playoff game since a 2011 semifinal run. Perennial power St. Augustine won the Class 5A championship that year — and against in 2021, with three runner-up appearances in between — and has another solid roster this year from its senior leaders, including Davis Oliver-Goodwin; to a talented junior group of , Bobby Kennedy, , Jr. and Dandrick Green Jr.; and a sophomore group led by point guard Cy Merrett.
No. 9 Lake Charles College Prep at No. 8 L.B. Landry (Division-II)
The Blazers won a school-record 25 games this regular season, including a piece of the title in a respectable district, then Friday added their first playoff victory since a 2019 quarterfinal run. Seniors Brandon Batiste,and Martin Young help lead the way with multisport standouts Josiah Bushnell and Elijah Garrick among the headliners of a talented junior class behind them. They’ll head to New Orleans where L.B. Landry seeks its third straight quarterfinal appearance — and, ultimately, more — in the final postseason for a deep and talented senior class led by , , and Franswar Neal.
No. 10 Vermilion Catholic at No. 7 Southern Lab (Division-IV)
One of just a few games around the state Monday will take at a Southern Lab gymnasium steeped in tradition. The Kittens meanwhile, after losing key seniors and a transfer following last season’s state championship, navigated an up-and-down regular season against a challenging schedule with several larger-classification opponents. Senior Jonathan Butler and D’Lloyd Joseph and sophomore Braylon Brown are among notable players to watch. The visiting Screamin’ Eagles delayed the start of their season until mid-December as their football team made a run to a state title game, and then the hoops group stumbled a pit out of the gate to a 2-3 record. They are 13-3 since then, however, including their first playoff win since 2019.
No. 11 University Lab at No. 6 St. Thomas Aquinas (Division-III)
The Cubs overcame a rough midseason skid — losing 11 of 13, including seven straight — to win five of its past six to reach this point. Senior guard Seth Mays is the driving force, with versatile junior big man Cooper Coates and a handful or so of physical, multisport athletes in between. Awaiting in Hammond is a Falcons group that has won 13 of its past 16 behind senior Logan Love and juniors, and Najae Williams. The teams were scheduled to play in the final week of the regular season before cancelling to prepare for the playoffs. A year ago, U-High fell short of not only the semifinals for the first time since 2012, but the quarterfinals, while St. Thomas Aquinas made its first semifinal trip since going back-to-back in 2012 and 2013. So opportunities to advance this week loom large in the program’s current historic statuses.
No. 15 Edna Karr at No. 2 St. Thomas More (Division-I)
Edna Karr held off another notable New Orleans program in Brother Martin, 64-61, on Friday for the right to head to Lafayette and challenge perennial power St. Thomas More in a battle of dueling Cougars. The backcourt led by juniorsand Kevin Slaughter and senior E.J. Riley headlines the group trying to carry that momentum to the road. Junior forward is St. Thomas More’s most highly ranked prospect, but he has plenty of talent around him in senior guards and Peyton Pratt and junior guards , and .