When it comes to the playoffs, some teams use the past and/or tradition as motivation. Others don’t.
Baton Rouge’s two Class 5A boys basketball district champions, Scotlandville and Catholic High, are doing just that.
Can you guess which strategy each school is using going into Friday’s bidistrict games? It may surprise you.
“These guys are well aware of what Scotlandville has done,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said. “Some of them played last year. But to be honest with you I’d like to see them make their own path.”
The third-seeded Hornets (28-4) host No. 30 Hahnville at 7 p.m. Sample’s view is interesting, considering Scotlandville has won six District 4-5A championships in a row and made five straight appearances in the Class 5A title game, winning twice.
Catholic (21-7) won its first district title in recent years in dramatic fashion last week, getting a late 3-pointer by Sam Cancienne Jr. to net a 43-40 District 5-5A-clinching victory over East Ascension.
The 12th-seeded Bears host No. 21 Ruston also at 7, something Catholic coach Mark Cascio has made a rallying point. The games help highlight a busy bidistrict schedule.
“Catholic hasn’t been in a position to host a home playoff game in a while,” Cascio said. “So this is big for our program. Two of our goals this year were to win a district title and host a playoff game and we’ve accomplish that.
“But now you want to build on that. We know Ruston is a very talented, well-coached team. They play in the toughest district in the state. We’re going to have to limit the chances for their post player Isiah Buggs. I think both teams can shoot from outside, but I think it will be decided in the paint.”
There are other differences between the two teams.
Scotlandville has won 15 straight games and has four players in double figures, led by junior Jordan Adebutu at 16.3 points per game. Freshman point guard Ja’Vonte Smart (14.4), senior guard Lamarcus Lee (14.0) and junior post player Garrick Green (13.0) are the others.
Junior Toliver Freeman is the lone Catholic player in double figures with a 19.0 scoring average. Junior Ethan Treigle (9.0) and senior Michael Francioni (7.0) are other Bears leaders.
Top-seeded Madison Prep (30-1) of Class 1A puts its 27-game winning streak on the line in its bidistrict game with No. 32 St. Mary’s. Third-seeded Episcopal (28-2) of Class 2A seeks its 22nd straight win. The Knights host No. 30 Haynes Academy.
The area’s other top-seeded team, defending 3A state champion University (28-4), looks to extend its win streak to four, after dropping a late-season game to 2A power Riverside Academy. The Cubs host Lusher Charter.
St. Michael the Archangel standout Jacob Evans, a Cincinnati signee, is listed as questionable due to an ankle injury. The 10th-seeded Warriors host Bolton in a 4A game.
“He’s done some walk through stuff the last couple of days,” SMHS coach Drew Hart said. “Jacob wants to play so bad, but if he has any pain at all we’ll shut him down.”
Count McKinley among the 5A teams looking to surprise skeptics. The 17th-seeded Panthers (20-13) play No. 16 St. Paul’s at Covington High.
“It was tough there for a while,” McKinley coach Marvin Dotson said. “But we got it back together over the last couple of weeks. They (McKinley) are relaxed and ready.”