An element of surprise may build intrigue, but some of the best high school basketball games feature teams that know each other well.
District 4-5A girls basketball rivals Walker and Zachary look to illustrate that point Friday night.
“We know Walker and have a lot of respect for them,” Zachary coach Tami McClure said. “They’re well-coached, and they play so hard. There are no secrets. You put everything you have into games like this. It comes down to which team is on their game that night.”
Walker (24-5, 3-0) travels to Zachary (19-8, 2-0) for a showdown that matches two of the area’s elite Class 5A teams at 6:15 p.m. Friday. Though his team has won 11 of its past 12, including eight in a row, Walker coach Korey Arnold calls his team the underdog.
“Zachary is an athletic and talented team,” Arnold said. “I feel like they are just a little bit better than us in most places. The thing we need to do is keep them from getting into a rhythm. We need to make the game ugly — that means diving on the floor for every ball, boxing out under the boards and making everything as difficult as possible.”
The Lady Cats are led by 5-foot-7 Breanna Zeringue, who averages 23 points per game. She set a school record by scoring 42 points in a win over Live Oak. Candace Ellis adds 14 points per game for WHS.
Walker made a major statement in the 4-5A race with a 48-32 win over Scotlandville om Tuesday night. The win also gave Arnold his 300th career victory. Beating Scotlandville was pivotal because the Hornets had handed traditional power Denham Springs a 4-5A loss previously.
Zachary has won 8 of its past 11 but dropped a nondistrict game to Class 3A Madison Prep on Monday night, which could be a motivator.
This is McClure’s second season at Zachary after a successful stint at St. Michael that included a couple of Class 4A LHSAA titles. The Broncos won the EBR tourney, beating McKinley (24-2) in the title game, early in the season and then embarked on a tour of holiday tournaments.
“I came in knowing it would be a two-year process,” McClure said. “There were no seniors and a group of juniors last year. They’ve responded to the schedule and the other things I want to do.”
Balance carries the Broncos. McNeese signee Rayah Haynes, Bryana Langford and JaMecia Profit all average around 14 points. The senior trio will be honored for reaching the 1,000 points plateau before the game.
"They’ve bought into what he wants, and we’ve bought into what we do," McClure said. "Who wants it more? We'll find out”
White Castle hosts its Ronald Johnson Classic, starting at 6 p.m. Saturday. The two-game event honors the Bulldogs’ longtime boys basketball coach.
Donaldsonville plays Baker in the first game at 6, followed by New Iberia vs. WCHS.