It will take four days, seven sessions and 14 games to decide the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s boys and girls basketball champions.
The four-day LHSAA Top 28 Tournament begins Wednesday in Monroe at the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Fant-Ewing Coliseum with a wide range of possibilities.
Two Class B finals open the tourney. The girls game, set for 6 p.m., matches defending champion Fairview (43-1) against Lacassine (38-1). Madison Prep (41-6), one of three Baton Rouge teams in the mix, meets Simsboro (28-5) in the boys final set for 8 p.m.
Here is a breakdown:
Class 5A Scotlandville (33-2) and Pelican of Class C are the only defending champions on the boys side. Classes 4A, 3A and 1A have different finalists. Riverside Academy (2A) and Simsboro (B) were runners-up a year ago.
Fairview is one of three defending girls champions. Other returning champions are 4A St. Thomas More and 2A John Curtis.
Class 5A Southwood-Shreveport and 4A Salmen were runners-up. The STM-Salmen game is a finals rematch.
Two schools, Hammond’s St. Thomas Aquinas (2A) and Lafayette’s St. Thomas More (4A), qualified both boys and girls teams.
Each school will play its games back-to-back on different days with 4A playing Friday and 2A set for Saturday.
Day by day
Thursday’s action features 1A and 3A teams and begins at noon with West St. John taking on Vermilion Catholic in the 1A girls game.
The 1A boys game between Metairie Park Country Day (25-10) and Arcadia follows at 2 p.m.
Rayville (28-5) meets Baker (25-5) in the 3A girls final that opens Thursday’s event session at 6 p.m. At 8, Farmerville plays Monroe-based Carroll in 3A boys action.
Classes 4A and C are Friday’s headliners. The noon game matches Saline and Dubach in Class C girls action. Pelican takes on Atlanta in the Class C boys game at 2 p.m.
The STM teams take the court for 4A finals with the Cougar girls (29-5) playing Salmen (27-4) at 6 p.m., followed by the boys (31-4) taking on district rival Northside-Lafayette (26-5) at 8.
Saturday is the day and night for 2A and 5A. St. Thomas Aquinas (27-5) plays defending champion Curtis at noon, followed by the STA boys vs. Riverside at 2 p.m.
Southwood (32-1) takes on rival Natchitoches Central in the 5A girls final for the second time in three years at 6 p.m. Scotlandville, making its fourth straight 5A final, takes on Ouachita at 8 to close out the tourney.
The top seed advanced in three of the seven boys classes and three of seven girls classes.
Ouachita (5A), Madison Prep (B) and Atlanta (C) are the top boys seeds to advance.
Southwood (5A), West St. John (1A) and Lacassine (B) were the top girls seeds that managed to advance.
Sixth-seeded Salmen is the lowest seed to advance among the girls teams; No. 7 Arcadia in 1A is the lowest seed left in the boys field.
The 5A and C boys games match the top two seeds. Top seeds will meet in the 5A, 1A and B girls games.