Seventh-ranked East Ascension travels to St. Amant at 7:30 p.m. Friday for an important District 5-5A boys basketball game.
Both Ascension Parish schools are tied for second in District 5-5A with 3-1 records. Dutchtown (19-4, 4-0) leads the district.
In other key Baton Rouge area games, eighth-ranked Glen Oaks (14-10, 3-0) travels to Parkview Baptist (13-9, 2-1) in a District 6-3A boys game and Walker (20-5, 4-0) travels to Scotlandville (18-4, 3-1) in a District 4-5A girls game. East Ascension (21-3) has good size in 6-foot-8 Ja’Cardo Hawkins, who scored 21 points in a 69-47 win over Woodlawn on Tuesday.
The Spartans are also led offensively by Javaugn Williams and Jeremy McInnis.
St. Amant (18-6) counters with an all-senior starting lineup with no player taller than 6-2. The Gators are led by Donald LeBlanc, who was the district MVP last season. LeBlanc is a versatile point guard and has registered a few triple-doubles this season. LeBlanc averages 17 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in district play.
“This is a very good rivalry,” St. Amant coach Gary Duhe said. “Both teams are playing well. The players all know each other, and both communities always look forward to this game.
“It’s special. East Ascension is very talented and very well coached. They have good size and good quickness. We’re going to have to play extremely well to keep it close.”
St. Amant has won three straight league games, including a 62-61 victory over Woodlawn as LeBlanc hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to pull off a comeback victory. The Gators fell in double overtime to Dutchtown in their first league game.
Duhe said he likes the toughness and maturity of his senior-laden squad.
“I like our togetherness and team work,” Duhe said. “We shoot the ball well, and I like our quickness. Our team assist to turnover ratio is 4 to 1, and that’s good.
“We’ll have to play good defense.”
Mason Clouatre (14 points per game), Dominque Wilmore (10 ppg), Jonavan Lewis (10 ppg), Brandon Guillory (7 ppg) and Dequincy Deverteul (7 ppg) help pace a balanced Gators scoring attack.
Duhe said Hawkins has improved as a defensive player from last season.
“Hawkins is a real force on defense and can block shots,” Duhe said. “We hope to get him away from the goal.”
Glen Oaks at Parkview
Parkview is the defending district champion, but the Eagles lost 56-55 at Baker on Tuesday.
“Baker played very well, and we’ll have to learn from that loss,” Parkview coach Don Green said. “You’ve got to play every night in this district. Fortunately, our next four games are at home.”
Parkview is led by 6-foot-8 junior James Thompson (17 ppg, 10 rpg), guard Will Jones (11 ppg, 12 apg), Reed Vial (12 ppg), Matthew Starkey (8 ppg) and Konner Krone (4 ppg).
“It has taken us a while to jell, but we’re hitting our stride right now,” Green said. “Glen Oaks is very disciplined and really defends the ball well.”
“It’s going to be a battle,” Glen Oaks coach Harvey Adger said. “Parkview has some size and really plays hard. The team that executes the best, limits their turnovers and makes free throws will likely win.”
Glen Oaks starters are 6-4 senior Chris Thomas (18 ppg), Chris Dancey (14 ppg), Jalen Varsite (10 ppg, 4 apg), Danny Womack and Godfrey Wheller.
Episcopal’s doubleheader against visiting Redemptorist will feature pink uniforms as a way to raise breast cancer awareness. The girls game starts at 6 p.m.