The guest lists are both impressive and lengthy for two of the area’s top basketball tournaments.
Madison Prep Academy’s Fifth Annual Basketball Classic is the earliest to tip off, getting underway Wednesday with three games. McKinley (6-2) faces Lake Area New Tech (6-4) at 5 p.m. in the opener.
“We’re hoping for a competitive tournament,” MPA coach Jeff Jones said. “There will be some really good matchups.”
The event at Madison Prep is one of four in the local-area that includes Walker, Episcopal, Baker and Runnels.
Southern Lab (6-3) faces East Feliciana (2-3) at 6:30 p.m. followed by host MPA (7-3) meeting Jehovah-Jireh (10-6) in Wednesdays final game at 8 p.m.
Action resumes with four games Thursday starting at 4 p.m. with Port Allen (6-4) opposing Ellender (9-2) and continues through Saturday with the championship game at 7:30 p.m.
“Southern Lab’s one of the better teams in Class 1A,” Jones said. “Probably the hottest team coming in is West Jefferson (9-2). Northside’s playing well, and Ellender’s off to a good start. We’re hoping we can play well and play through a few injuries.”
Walker’s Lady Cat tournament has grown since its inception that included 16 teams.
Lady Cats’ coach Kory Arnold has developed the event by leaps and bounds into one of the state’s premiere tournaments that features 42 teams playing at four sites.
“It’s a combination of getting the best teams throughout the state, and you’re guaranteed three or four games,” Arnold said. “That’s why we’re able to get so many good teams and keep getting good teams.”
Play begins Thursday in the three-day event with host Walker (6-6) taking on Lafayette Christian Academy (6-4) at Walker High at 5:40 p.m.
Reigning Class 4A state champion Warren Easton, along with runners-up Salmen and semifinalist Karr, are all entered with top teams in each classification ranging from Barbe, Natchitoches-Central and New Iberia in Class 5A, Class 3A quarterfinalist Albany, Class 2A state semifinalist St. Thomas Aquinas and Class 1A semifinalist White Castle.
“It gives people an opportunity to play against good teams they may see somewhere down in the playoffs,” Arnold said.
“This helps teams down in the playoffs to get tested right now.”
The Runnels Round Robin and Baker’s Winter Basketball Tournament — both boys’ events — each tip off Thursday at 4 p.m. with eight teams participating, while Episcopal’s 10-team girl’s invitational starts Friday.
Undefeated Christian Life Academy (8-0), which opens with Maurepas at 4 p.m. on Thursday headlines the Runnels event, while a Walker-Zachary matchup at 5 p.m. Thursday highlights first-day action in Baker.
Dunham-Livonia open play in the two-day Episcopal Invitational at 4 p.m. on Friday in the main gym.