The Smoothie King Center is available Thursday, right?
Let’s just do it there instead of driving all the way to Lake Charles to settle it.
Kevin Anderson, Jessica Barber, Darius Mimms, and Nancy Walsh would likely be all for playing the Class 4A state championship somewhere right here in the city.
This year, the 4A title is more like the 504 title. (OK, so Salmen has a 985 area code, but that’s close enough).
It will be an all-New Orleans area affair Thursday at Burton Coliseum in the semifinals.
Cabrini plays Warren Easton at 1 p.m., with Edna Karr playing two-time defending state champion Salmen at 2:45 p.m.
The winners advance to Saturday’s 6 p.m. championship game.
“It’s special, and it’s bigger than basketball,” said Mimms, Easton’s coach. “If I’m not playing against them, I’m rooting for them. We go at it each other, but outside of basketball, it’s family.”
Mimms won’t get any arguments from the lady who will try to beat him today.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Cabrini coach Nancy Walsh said. “We are representing Cabrini and the city of New Orleans. What’s cool is that these teams support each other.”
So just how good is the New Orleans quartet that will be playing in today’s 4A action?
Well, check out these numbers.
Easton (31-1) enters as the No. 1 seed.
Salmen (26-4) is the No. 2 seed.
Karr (29-3) is No. 3.
And Cabrini (27-5) is the No. 5 seed.
Collectively, they have a combined record of 113-13.
Out of those 13 losses, 10 are in games played against each other.
“Every game with the New Orleans team was a battle,” said Anderson, looking to lead Salmen to its third straight title.
The other three losses? Cabrini lost once to 5A semifinalist Destrehan and Salmen dropped games to Ponchatoula, the No. 1 seed in 5A and another to Ellender, which made it to the 4A quarterfinals.
Easton has built the best résumé among the four teams. The Eagles have beat Salmen, Karr and Cabrini all twice this season.
In order to get back to the championship game for a second straight year, Easton will have to beat Cabrini for a third time Thursday. Then they would have to beat either Karr or Salmen for a third time Saturday.
Mimms and his team knows the first hurdle won’t be easy.
Easton’s two wins over District 9-4A foe Cabrini this season have been by a combined seven points (53-51 and 52-47). So don’t expect Easton to be peaking ahead to a title game rematch against Salmen.
“I don’t think we’re looking ahead,” Mimms said. “Cabrini has proven both times we have played them that we have to come to play.”
Walsh is looking forward to the challenge.
“I think we are right where we need to be,” said Walsh. “This team has developed into a physically and mentally strong team. We aren’t backing down.
“I think we are a lot calmer, and we’re ready to play. We aren’t just happy to be here.”
It’s Cabrini’s first trip to the Top 28 since winning it all under then coach Tony Labella in 2004.
For Salmen, the wait hasn’t been nearly that long. It’s become almost an annual thing. Led by McDonald’s All-American and Baylor signee Kalani Brown, the Spartans are making their fourth straight trip to the semifinals.
While Salmen returns to Lake Charles again this year, Karr is returning as well … from a trip they took there to start the season.
Karr played Sam Houston at Burton Coliseum at the beginning of the season in a Hall of Fame Game. Now they play Salmen, which handed Karr a 47-44 loss in overtime early in the season.
“We started our season there on purpose,” Barber said. “All year long, we talked about how we wanted to finish where we started.”
Now they get to make the trip on Interstate 10 West again.
Three other buses carrying teams from the New Orleans area will be making the trip as well.
“I think that’s awesome,” Barber said. “The only time I ever cheer against any of the other teams is when we are playing them.
“We want nothing more than for them to experience success. This speaks volume for our city.”