It’s been at the forefront of Acadiana’s goal chart from the start of the season.
Not even a recent stumble which knocked them from atop the District 3-5A standings has deterred the Rams from trying to reach their season-long objective.
Acadiana (14-11, 7-3) must defeat league-leading New Iberia (20-9, 9-1) in a home encounter Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. and then defeat archrival Lafayette (10-16, 3-8) on Friday.
“We’ve done a solid job of protecting our home court, and that’s going to have to be a big factor Tuesday,” Acadiana coach Nic Jeffers said. “Hopefully we can have a big crowd and get them behind us, and we’ll play hard and play together and see what happens.”
Barbe (20-9, 7-4) and Comeaux (20-9, 7-3) are two other teams that could factor into the District 3-5A picture with the Spartans hosting the Bucs in Lafayette on Tuesday.
Should Acadiana win, coupled with a Comeaux victory, the league’s lead would belong to three teams with New Iberia finishing at home with Sam Houston (12-16, 3-7) and Comeaux and Sulphur (2-21, 0-10).
“It would do them a good service to put us in a situation where they’re still fighting for something and beating us would put them in a possible three-way tie,” New Iberia coach Todd Russ said of Acadiana. “That’s not what we want. We expect it to be a tough game on the road and expect to get nothing but Acadiana’s best.”
It’s a bit of a role reversal from the first time the teams met and New Iberia handed Acadiana its first league loss 54-47 on Jan. 22 in New Iberia.
“I watched film of our last game and it was a heck of a game,” Russ said. “I’m expecting nothing less than to get their best at their place. Coach Jeffers does a great job and has some seniors that want to go out on top.”
While some teams like Comeaux and Acadiana have encountered brief rough patches midway through and given up the district’s lead, New Iberia has been a constant since dropping its opener at Comeaux.
The Yellow Jackets are riding an 11-game win streak, including a recent stretch of an overtime win over Barbe, a one-point victory over Sulphur and one-point victory over crosstown rival Westgate.
“Earlier in the season we were losing those games,” Russ said. “I think our experience from the competition we played and the situations we put ourselves in is what’s paying off now.”
Acadiana, which has lost only once this season, responded from back-to-back losses to Barbe and Comeaux with a 61-51 victory last Friday at Sulphur.
“It’s a good matchup for both teams,” Jeffers said. “It should be an interesting, hard-fought game is what I’m expecting from both teams. It’s one of those nearly must-wins for us. We’ll see where the chips fall.”