“Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know” is a popular idiom most people are familiar with.
University High coach Bonita Johnson offers a variation on this theme: “I’d rather play the beast I know than one I don’t know.”
With that said, the third-seeded Cubs (23-8) host No. 14 Ville Platte (19-8), a team they defeated 63-56 in the Class 3A title game two years ago, at 6 p.m. Monday.
The game is part of a busy second-round girls basketball playoff schedule that includes the flip side of the scenario. Second-seeded St. Michael the Archangel (23-8) hosts No. 15 South Lafourche (25-7), also at 6 p.m., in Class 4A
“This isn’t a normal second-round or regional game,” Johnson said. “We’re expecting a packed house. You don’t have all players who were there two years ago, but there are several.
“Based on what I can see on film, Ville Platte still does the same things that worked well then. They can go inside to a tall post, and they can shoot it from outside.”
Though her team does not know South Lafourche, a team that dropped down to Class 4A this fall, SMHS coach Tami McClure likes what she has seen of the Tarpons on film.
“The thing that impresses me is that they play so hard for the entire game,” McClure said. “They’ll get after it and play hard from the opening tip until the final buzzer.
“This is not a team we’ve played, but we have seen them. I think 4A is so balanced this year. It’s wide open, and anyone in the top 18 has a chance. So this is going to be more like a semifinal than a regional game.”
St. Michael is the only 5A/4A team playing at home Monday. Other teams hosting Monday games include 3A Albany and Donaldsonville, Class B Holden, 2A Madison Prep and 1A Southern Lab.
The University-Ville Platte and St. Michael-South Lafourche matchups are intriguing. McClure’s Warriors lost in the second round last season. They’re led by senior guards Tyler Morrison (11.2 points per game) and Sabree Wilson (11.1 ppg).
Sophomore guard Traya Bruce averages 18 points a game for SLHS, while senior Carolina Guilbeau adds 17.0.
“We’ve got to play a full 32 minutes,” McClure said.
Season-ending knee injuries to two starters have forced U-High to adjust. The Cubs enter Monday’s game with an eight-player roster. Chelsea Verrett leads UHS with a 15.0 scoring average. Point guard Kaila Anderson adds 11 points and eight assists a game.
Kealogah Calvin has a 14.6 scoring average for VPHS. Miya McKinney, the sister of ex-Ville Platte star Deja McKinney, averages 9.3 points and 9.6 rebounds.
“We’ve got to be ready to play from the start and execute,” Johnson said.
Foe you know
Fourth-seeded Parkview Baptist (22-10) travels to No. 20 Donaldsonville (19-9) for 6 p.m. game that matches District 6-3A rivals. PBS won 74-43 the first time the teams played and 77-48 the second time.
Fourth-seeded Holden (22-6) has also played No. 13 Hathaway (15-15). The Rockets beat HHS 79-41 on Dec. 18.