When the John Curtis baseball team dog-piled near the pitcher’s mound at McMurry Park in Sulphur on Saturday night, there was plenty to celebrate.
It ended a 13-year title baseball drought for John Curtis.
It also ended a four-year baseball drought for the New Orleans area, which hadn’t won a baseball title since Jesuit’s 5A title in 2011.
And it officially brought to a close the LHSAA’s 2014-15 sports season.
Boy, was there plenty to celebrate this sports season.
Here’s a look back at some of the most memorable moments of the past school year.
A time to celebrate
It all started last summer, when John Curtis decided it was going to play up in classification in football.
Many of us started drooling, anticipating how the Mercedes-Benz Superdome would be a seas of red on that December night when Curtis and Rummel, both nationally ranked in some pre-season rankings, clashed in an all-city championship game.
Turns out, Jesuit crashed the party, turning their side of the Dome into a blue bird cage that night as the Blue Jays beat Curtis 17-14 to claim the school’s first state championship in more than 50 years.
It was Jesuit’s first state title since 1960.
The following week, it was another New Orleans school looking to make an historic run of its own.
Sandra Bullock would’ve been proud to see Warren Easton, the school she adopted, come oh-so close to winning a title for the first time since 1942. Easton, Louisiana’s oldest public school, fell just short, falling to Neville 28-27.
Continuing the dynasty
The Country Day volleyball dynasty rolled on, as the Cajuns captured their sixth consecutive title.
The Mount Carmel volleyball team won title No. 10 that same day in the Pontchartrain Center.
The Curtis softball team proved to be worthy of its nickname the Quad Squad as they won their fourth championship in a row.
And there were some soccer dynasties as well.
The Ben Franklin girls won their third straight title and have gone a mind-boggling 63-0-2 over the last three years against in-state opponents. And the St. Paul’s boys team won their second straight title and finished No. 1 in the nation.
Oh, and speaking of continuing a dynasty in the Pontchartrain Center, let’s not forget the Brother Martin wrestling team, which won its fourth consecutive team title. It was also four straight for Crusaders senior star Paul Klein, who became the first wrestler to four-peat in Division I. Klein went 45-0.
Few dominated their sport quite like Klein and Hahnville wrestler Kendrick Jones, who went 69-0 this season.
Collectively, they went 114-0 this season.
John Curtis distance runner Devyn Keith dominated in cross country and indoor and outdoor track, helping Curtis win state titles in all three.
First Baptist junior Gabrielle Jennings continued her haul of championships and now has 37 state titles under her belt.
She and Keith are both juniors and can add even more titles next season.
Good luck keeping count of all those medals.
Salmen’s Kalani Brown continued to garner national accolades, becoming this state’s first McDonald’s All-American since Vandebilt Catholic’s Theresa Plaisance in 2010.
Brown fell short of a title, though, as Easton finally got past nemesis Salmen to win it all.
Speaking of McDonald’s All-Americans, perhaps the biggest buzz this season in hoops was when LSU signee Ben Simmons and Montverde (Florida) Academy visited New Orleans for the Allstate Sugar Bowl Basketball Tournament.
Simmons drew packed crowds to the Alario Center every night he played.
The championship game was memorable, with the area’s best team (Riverside) bombing 3-pointers left and right to put a scare into Simmons and Co. for a half.
Simmons, considered by most to be the best player in the country, finished with 39 points that night and gave LSU fans something to look forward to (at least for one season anyway. Riverside lost that night, but didn’t lose many more.
The Rebels went undefeated against in-state opponents and won their third straight state title.
Landry-Walker won its second title in two years when Keytaon Thompson saved the day with a putback basket at the buzzer to beat Salmen.
Some losses, too
We celebrated wins, but we also mourned losses, like those of former Destrehan volleyball coach Denise Keller and former football coach Henry Rando, whose head coaching stops included Holy Cross.
Keller lost a 17-month battle with breast cancer at the age of 49. Rando, who coached high school football for 40 years, died of congestive heart failure at the age of 71.
Johan Kenner, a football player at Landry-Walker was killed in a senseless murder at St. Roche Playground. Tokoyo Palmer, a junior varsity basketball player at Landry-Walker, was killed while waiting for a school bus.
We also saw an unexpected changing of the guard, when the LHSAA and executive director Kenny Henderson decided to part ways after seven years.
He was replaced by Eddie Bonine, who got off to solid start by taking a stand and helping the LHSAA avoid splitting even further.
What’s next for the LHSAA?
We’ll see in the upcoming sports season.