De La Salle's coach Paul Kelly reacts to a play during the basketball game between De La Salle and Country Day at Country Day on January 13, 2017 in New Orleans, LA.

Advocate Photo by STEPHEN LEW

If De La Salle is to win the Allstate Sugar Bowl CYO Basketball tournament for a second straight year, the Cavaliers will have do so with a completely different cast.

None of the five starters from last year's team, which also went on to win the Division II state championship, will be around for the 64th edition of the tournament. 

Three starting seniors graduated from last year's team. Another starter, Rodney Munson, transferred to Bonnabel. And the fifth starter, Noble Scott, is busy with the De La Salle football team that will play for a state championship next week in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

So it'll be up to an entire new quintet to try to bring a second straight CYO Tournament championship trophy to 5300 St. Charles Avenue.

"I feel like I've coached more in seven weeks than I have in the last few years combined," De La Salle coach Paul Kelly said. "I was so spoiled with a veteran team for the last several years. We are sophomore dominated. Our juniors and seniors aren't young, but they are inexperienced. Every game is going to be a challenge for us."

De La Salle opens play in the four-day tournament Wednesday against Shaw in a game at Holy Cross. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. Other tournament games will be played at Brother Martin, Jesuit and St. Paul's. The championship game is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Jesuit.

De La Salle brings a 17-game winning streak into the tournament. The Cavs won 16 straight games last season and are 1-0 this year after beating Hannan in overtime in the season opener.

They are trying to reach the title game of the tournament for a third straight year after losing to St. Paul's in 2015 and beating Curtis in 2016.

It was De La Salle's eighth time winning the CYO tournament and first time since 1988 when Jay Fazende, who went on to star at Fordham, led the Cavaliers to the championship. 

"We enjoy the tournament because of the history of it," Kelly said."There's something about being able to call yourself a tournament champion when you know the competition in the tournament is as strong as it is in the CYO tournament."

To win again, Kelly will rely on a lineup consisting of a just one junior (center Gerald Matthews) and one senior (forward Jalen Henry). Sophomore starters are point guard Abiram Frye, shooting guard John Kelly (the coach's son) and forward Jalen Ned. While it's a group that isn't seasoned, Kelly expects the team to improve as the season progresses.

"They are great listeners and learners," Kelly said. "It's going to be a learning year. I don't foresee us being at our best until late January or February. We have inexperienced guys, but they are really good players."

CYO Boys Basketball Tournament


At Brother Martin

Game 1: John Curtis vs. Hahnville at Brother Martin, 6 p.m.

Game 2: East St. John at Brother Martin, 7:30 p.m.

At Holy Cross

Game 3: De La Salle vs. Shaw, 6 p.m.

Game 4: Grace King vs. Holy Cross, 7:30 p.m.

At Jesuit

Game 5: Slidell vs. St. Thomas Aquinas, 6 p.m.

Game 6: St. Martin’s vs. Jesuit, 7:30 p.m.

At St. Paul’s

Game 7: St. Stanislaus vs. St. Paul’s, 6 p.m.

Game 8: Rummel vs. Fontainebleau, 7:30 p.m.



At Brother Martin

Game 9: Game 1 loser (John Curtis or Hahnville) vs. Game 2 loser (East St. John or Brother Martin), 6 p.m.

Game 13: Game 1 winner (John Curtis or Hahnville) vs. Game 2 winner (East St. John-Brother Martin), 7:30 p.m.

At Holy Cross

Game 10: Game 3 loser (De La Salle or Shaw) vs. Game 4 loser (Grace King or Holy Cross), 6 p.m.

Game 14: Game 3 winner (De La Salle or Shaw) vs. Game 4 winner (Grace King or Holy Cross), 7:30 p.m.

At Jesuit

Game 11: Game 5 loser (Slidell or St. Thomas Aquinas) vs. Game 6 loser (St. Martin’s or Jesuit), 6 p.m.

Game 15: Game 5 winner (Slidell or St. Thomas Aquinas) vs. Game 6 winner (St. Martin’s or Jesuit), 7:30 p.m.

At St. Paul’s

Game 12: Game 7 loser (St. Stanislaus or St. Paul’s) vs. Game 8 loser (Rummel or Fontainebleau), 6 p.m.

Game 16:  Game 7 winner (St. Stanislaus or St. Paul’s) vs. Game 8 winner (Rummel or Fontainebleau), 7:30 p.m.


Friday, Dec. 1

At Jesuit

Game 23: Semifinals No. 1 (Game 13 winner vs. Game 14 winner), 6 p.m.

Game 24: Semifinals No. 2 (Game 15 winner vs. Game 16 winner), 7:30 p.m.


Saturday, Dec. 2

At Brother Martin

Game 17: Game 9 loser vs. Game 10 loser, 10 a.m.

Game 21: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 11:30 a.m.

Game 18: Game 13 loser vs. Game 14 loser, 1 p.m.

At Jesuit

Game 19: Game 11 loser vs. Game 12 loser, 2 p.m.

Game 22: Game 11 winner vs. Game 12 winner, 3:30 p.m.

Game 20: Game 15 loser vs. Game 16 loser, 5 p.m.

Game 25: Championship game (Game 23 winner vs. Game 24 winner) at Jesuit, 7 p.m.

Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.