Abbeville has moved up in classification and into District 5-4A, where St. Martin Parish schools — Breaux Bridge and St. Martinville — have emerged among the league’s top teams.
Despite losing seven seniors to graduation, including all five starters, the Wildcats have designs on contending for the district championship as well.
It’s a trend Abbeville started with the arrival of coach Berwick Hamilton, including last year’s title in District 8-3A, and would like to continue when the Wildcats (12-5) host Breaux Bridge (15-7) in a battle of 1-0 league teams at 7:30 p.m. Friday
“Several of these guys were on last year’s team and played,” Hamilton said. “They realize we do have a little tradition to uphold. They’ve been playing really well and want to continue the legacy we’ve built. We’re still a young a team. We’re going to compete, and that’s all you can do: play hard and play together.”
Abbeville will find out rather quickly whether it has what it takes to win the district.
The Wildcats, who opened Tuesday with a 51-45 victory at Cecilia, host Breaux Bridge and St. Martinville (next Tuesday) in successive games.
“I knew it was going to be tough,” Hamilton said. “You can’t count any of them out. On any given night, you’re going to see an unexpected victory. If we can beat the teams we should, win at home and steal one or two on the road, you can slide in there among the top of the heap. I don’t think anyone’s going to get out with less than two losses.”
Breaux Bridge — the No. 5 rated team in The Advocate’s recent poll — won for the fourth straight time with a 64-59 home win on Tuesday over St. Martinville.
With its new starting lineup and rotation of players, Abbeville has rounded into shape after a 7-4 start to win five of its past six games.
Junior Jymyri Evans has averaged 15 points over his last three games, Hamilton said.
Senior forward Nadaedrion Mouton leads the team with a 14-point average with junior Kevin Williams contributing in a reserve role with help from freshmen Jahidi White and Javontae Decuir.
“It’s a big game because we’re both 1-0 in district,” Hamilton said. “They’re really the frontrunners, and we’re going to have to play really well. We’ll have to click on all cylinders and do a very good defensive job. We’re looking forward to it.”