Given what’s potentially at stake, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s annual convention will grab headlines all month long.
Could the games high school athletes play get lost in the shuffle as administrators wrestle with what to do with about the LHSAA’s select/nonselect school issues? Sure.
There is another option — selecting to attend basketball games that include some high-powered teams.
Madison Prep is set to host a series of Hall of Fame Classic basketball games at Baton Rouge Community College on Jan. 24. Hall of Fame games and marquee Hall of Fame matchups are nothing new for Baton Rouge.
The fact Jones’ 17-1 Chargers of Class 1A will meet 3A University High (14-2) in an 8:30 p.m. game that caps a six-game session is sure to attract attention and fans.
“You know, this thing is growing every year,” Jones said. “We’ve played five games before. We reached out to some different areas for teams this year. We’ve got six games, and we had to turn some teams away.”
This schedule has a kind of a retro feel. It starts at 1 p.m. with Beau Chene taking on Amite, followed by Tara vs. Brusly at 2:30 p.m.
At 4 p.m., Monroe-based Carroll takes on Ellender for a game that conjures up visions of past Hall of Fame games played at LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
In the early 1980s, Carroll and future NBA player Benoit Benjamin were part of a Hall of Fame schedule that made the games, which benefit the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame, a “go-to” event. A little over a decade later, Ellender dueled with a Glen Oaks team led by standout Lester Earl, who played at LSU and then at Kansas.
Jones said Carroll has one of the state’s top sophomore post players in 6-foot-8 Larry Owens.
Class 5A McKinley takes on 1A Country Day at 5:30 p.m. for a game that will showcase different styles of play. At 7 p.m., Port Allen and its 6-8 post player Ishmael Lane take on one of the state’s hottest teams, Edna Karr.
The finale matches MPA and U-High, arguably the area’s top boys teams. The Chargers’ Brandon Sampson is the state’s top senior and is surrounded by loads of talent. U-High’s junior-laden squad includes guard Skylar Mays and forward Wayde Sims, along with senior Maxwell Starwood, a Tulane commitment.
Critics will surely point out that you have private schools and a charter school like MPA playing against nonselect public schools. Here’s my advice on that: Give it a rest and go see a game. Enjoy it.
Wide receiver Jonathan Hodoh of Dutchtown High committed to Louisiana-Monroe, said DHS coach Benny Saia.
Plaquemine High quarterback D’Morea Wicks has picked up scholarship offers from Air Force and Georgetown, said PHS coach Paul Distefano.
Wicks, who led the Green Devils to the Class 4A semifinals, has an official visit to Air Force set later than month, Distefano said.
Dutchtown High catcher Tyler Boeding has committed to LSU-Eunice, said DHS coach Chris Schexnaydre.
A humbling honor
I have been selected as the one of the Louisiana Track & Field Coaches Association’s Lifetime Achievement award winners for 2015.
This is a huge honor and one I’ll share with two people I respect very much — former coach and longtime track official Donald Dunbar and former Baton Rouge High/Episcopal coach Butch Helveston.
The awards ceremony is Jan. 29 in Lafayette. This is one of those “wow” moments for me.