Port Allen holds off Brusly _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER McCLELLAND -- Port Allen's Ishmael Lane drives against a Brusly defender last season.

The Baton Rouge area will experience its own version of Big Monday as three district basketball championships could be decided.

While it has already clinched a share of the District 5-5A title, St. Joseph’s Academy looks to lock up the outright crown when the Redstickers (15-10, 8-0) visit Dutchtown (17-12, 6-2) at 6:30 p.m.

“When it was district time, we made a decision we wanted this,” SJA coach deLynn Stelly said. “The school hasn’t had an undefeated district title since 1998. I start four seniors, and they’re a special group. They’ve really turned up the focus. They’ve impressed me.”

Port Allen’s boys will try to delay defending Class 3A state champion University High from gaining a share of the District 7-3A title when the Pelicans (20-6, 8-2) visit the Cubs (24-3, 10-0) at about 7:30 p.m.

“I think we’ve gotten better,” Port Allen coach Brandon Ricard said of his team’s play since a 68-53 home loss to U-High on Jan. 16. “I’m sure they’ve gotten better as well, gearing up for a playoff run. I would like to think we’ve become more disciplined as a team and play together as a team.”

Madison Prep’s boys and girls can sweep the District 6-1A titles when they host Southern Lab, with the girls game starting at 6 p.m.

The Lady Kittens (15-9, 5-1) need a victory over the Lady Chargers (23-7, 6-0) and Kentwood on Friday to force a special playoff game Saturday.

“It’s only what you’ve got in front of you, and right now we have Madison Prep, and I’m sure (MPA coach Dwayne Hayes is) looking at it the same way,” Southern Lab girls coach Henry Combs said. “It’s a big game for them as well.”

Madison Prep’s boys (26-1, 5-0) can close out a share of the 6-1A title with a second straight victory over Southern Lab (18-5, 4-1). The Chargers handed the Kittens a 74-50 defeat just over two weeks ago.

SJA is riding an eight-game winning streak and has won 11 of its past 12, including a 51-50 home win over St. Amant with junior Caroline Olivier delivering 24 points.

Olivier leads SJA with a 16- to 17-point average with senior guard Olivia Adabie contributing 14 to 15 and senior post Bailey Favaloro 8 to 10.

“We have an equal amount of scoring, so it’s pretty special,” Stelly said. “They all know their role. It’s been exciting.”

Port Allen jumped to a 9-2 start in its last outing with U-High but couldn’t keep up with the hot-shooting Cubs, who built a 37-17 halftime lead and were led by John Jones’ 18 points

Northwestern State signee Ishmael Lane averages a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds to power Port Allen with guards Jordan Morgan averaging 16, Nigel Allen 15.5 and Telson Allen 11.

“I just hope we can come out and play with the intensity throughout the game, not just the first four minutes of the quarter and get stagnant on offense,” Ricard said. “We have to stick with the game plan and not try and go one on one.”

Southern Lab’s girls came within a buzzer beater of defeating MPA for the second time this season. The Kittens took a 37-32 win in the EBR tournament before Sherry Porter’s pull-up 15-footer forced overtime Jan. 23.

Porter finished with 36 points, leading the Lady Chargers to a 62-61 win.

“With 3.9 seconds left to go the length of the floor, you would assume they wouldn’t get a real good look, but the girl nailed a real good shot,” Combs said. “Before then, we had done enough to come back from what they did early. It was one I feel like we let get away.”