Possibilities abound as 12 Baton Rouge-based boys basketball teams take on quarterfinal opponents far and wide Tuesday night.
At stake are berths in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Top 28 regional semifinals set to begin as early as Thursday at three different sites.
Two local teams, Class 5A Scotlandville (31-2) and 1A Christian Life Academy (26-5), are defending state champions.
Scotlandville, seeded second, travels to play No. 10 Ruston (27-7). CLA hosts No. 8 Houma Christian (19-9) in a string of 7 p.m. games. Set to play at 6:30 p.m. is top-seeded Madison Prep (39-6), which hosts traditional power Zwolle (31-11), a No. 8 seed.
Baton Rouge’s other remaining 5A team, No. 4 East Ascension (29-3), has one of the most compelling storylines. The Spartans host Brother Martin-New Orleans (25-6) at 7 p.m. Tuesday, seeking their first semifinal berth since 2008.
The history between the Crusaders and Baton Rouge teams is notable. Brother Martin beat Scotlandville to win the 2010 5A title and lost to the Hornets last season. The Crusaders also played EAHS in recent years.
Perhaps the most significant game involving Brother Martin and EAHS coach Kenny Almond came in 2003, when Almond’s Woodlawn-BR team took an 80-63 win in the 5A title game. Future NBA player D.J. Augustin led BMHS, and future LSU player Darnell Lazare had a lead role for Woodlawn.
Almond is focused on this season and has a squad led by 6-foot-7 Ja’Cardo Hawkins, who averages 17.1 points per game. Guard Javaughn Williams averages 17.3. Jordan Lumpkins and Jordan Cornish lead BMHS.
“Brother Martin plays with a lot of confidence and swagger because they’ve had so much success,” Almond said. “They like to press you, and we need to be able to handle that in order to hurt them offensively.”
Scotlandville, led by Brian Bridgewater’s 15.0 scoring average, seeks its fourth straight semifinal berth.
“As long as we rebound and focus on defense, I think we’ll be OK,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said.
BR’s quarterfinal group includes one 4A team, Istrouma (24-6). The 11th-seeded Indians host No. 3 Alexandria (28-5). Marquise Kaigler scored a game-high 18 points for Istrouma in its regional win.
In Class 3A, three Baton Rouge teams remain — No. 5 Brusly (24-7), No. 9 Glen Oaks (20-11) and No. 23 Parkview Baptist (17-12).
Brusly travels to Monroe to take on fourth-seeded Carroll (23-6). GOHS travels to Bossier City to take on top-seeded Bossier (27-3), while PBS hosts another Monroe team, second-seeded Richwood (23-7), the defending 3A champion.
Jay Christophe scored 17 for Brusly in its regional winner. Chris Thomas led Glen Oaks with 23 in its regional win, while 6-8 James Thompson finished with 24 in the regional round.
University High (30-2) is the top remaining seed in the Class 2A playoffs as a No. 2 seed, thanks to an assist from District 7-2A rival Episcopal, the team that upset top-seeded Newman 40-38 last Friday.
Stan Mays, who scored a game-high 19 points, hit the winning shot for Episcopal last Friday. D.J. White scored 20 in U-High’s regional win.
Now, both teams play north Louisiana teams at home in the quarterfinals.
UHS hosts Natchitoches-area based Lakeview (24-7), a 10th seed. Episcopal (26-8), a No. 17 seed, hosts No. 8 Winnfield (27-6).
Class 1A Christian Life is led by 6-4 Johnathan Stove but got a game-high 18 points from R.J. Hertzog in its regional victory. Also in the 1A mix is No. 21 White Castle (17-10), which has already upset two high-seeded foes. The Bulldogs are led by DeAndre Bellock, who is averaging 24 points a game going into Tuesday’s game at No. 4 Metairie Park Country Day (21-8).
LSU signee Jarell Martin scored 29 points in Madison Prep’s Class B regional win. Not to be forgotten in the mix is Class C Family Christian (25-14). The sixth-seeded Flames had three players in double figures in their regional win and travel to Ruston to play New Living Word (29-11), a semifinalist last season.