LAKE CHARLES — The possibilities made University High coach Joe Spencer’s head swim. Madison Prep’s Jeff Jones pondered — albeit very briefly — what it would be like if the Chargers didn’t hold up their end of the bargain.
It was smiles all around after three Baton Rouge teams captured state titles at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Boys Top 28 tournament Friday and Saturday.
“There was a time today when I thought about (it),” Spencer said. “There’s a lot of pressure. First, Bonita (Johnson, UHS girls coach) and her team win it last week. And then you had Scotlandville win last night and Madison Prep this afternoon.
“I had to reel my mind back in and focus on our game. But it’s great for Baton Rouge to see all these teams win.”
Scotlandville started the title rush with its 42-34 victory over defending champion Natchitoches Central on Friday night in the Class 5A title game.
Next was Madison Prep’s wire-to-wire dominance of Lafayette Christian in the 1A game that opened Saturday’s action at Burton Coliseum.
“I didn’t want to be the one that let everybody down,” Jones said with a laugh, “but it’s all good. I was so happy for Carlos and Scotlandville. And I just knew U-High would win, which is why I was so focused on us.”
Finally there was U-High’s 77-60 win over John Curtis in the 3A title game. The Cubs won their second straight 3A title and gave Baton Rouge three boys basketball state champions for the first time since 2003 when there was another 5A, 3A and 1A trio. Woodlawn was the 5A champ that year, while Redemptorist (3A) and Southern Lab (1A) were the other members of the title trio.
The differences between the three programs and their stages of development make this story a special one.
After six straight trips to the Class 5A title game and three titles in the past four years, Scotlandville can no longer be considered the newcomer. U-High (33-4) plays the role of the traditional power and has now won multiple titles in three decades in three classes — winning in 1A in the 1980s, 2A in the 2000s and now 3A in this decade.
Madison Prep (35-1) is the upstart. But the 5-year-old school already has four straight tourney appearances with titles in Class B in 2013 and 1A in 2015, along with a runner-up finish.
Don’t expect this group to consider the 2015 title run to be a career achievement. U-High has its juior group led by Wayde Sims and Skylar Mays returning. Though Brandon Sampson is headed to St. John’s, Madison Prep has a talented roster back that includes sophomore Joshua Anderson and freshman Joshua LeBlanc.
And then there’s Scotlandville (33-4). Like U-High’s Sims, freshman Ja’Vonte Smart won Most Outstanding Player honors in the title game.
“This is good for Baton Rouge,” Jones said. “What’s better is what we all have coming back.”