Every high school sports season is unique, much like a snowflake or a diamond. Without a doubt, some things set the 2013-14 season apart from most.
It would be impossible to mention every highlight. But there are some specific categories and events worth remembering, not just in this offseason, but for years to come.
1, St. Joseph’s Academy volleyball team: Surprised? The team was 45-1 and won a Division I state title. No other title team had a record this good.
2, University High football team: The Cubs were 13-1 and extremely impressive all season, but lost to powerful John Curtis in their first title-game appearance since 1990 in the Division II final.
3, Scotlandville boys basketball team: The Hornets (36-2) were just as impressive all year and lost in the Class 5A title game. Like the U-High football team, the only thing Scotlandville didn’t do was win the last game.
4, U-High boys basketball team: The reverse scenario applies here. The UHS basketball team (30-7) was as hot as a firecracker in the playoffs and sealed the deal to win its first state title in a decade, getting the last laugh on naysayers who questioned their consistency.
5, St. Amant softball team: The 30-2 Gators didn’t finish with a state title either, but were at times dominant, and at the least highly consistent until their 5A quarterfinal loss.
Best postseason run
1, Livonia football team: The LHSAA sanctions that include returning the Class 3A runner-up trophy do not diminish the magical run that took the Wildcats to a fabulous title game.
2, Live Oak baseball team: The Eagles soared where they had never gone before, to the Class 5A baseball tourney, beating No. 2 Brother Martin and No. 3 Jesuit along the way.
3, U-High girls basketball team: The Cubs had been close before with a 3A runner-up finish and some semifinal berths. This time they kicked the door in exorcising some past playoff demons along the way.
4, Zachary girls track team: No one, perhaps not even 5A runner-up Baton Rouge High, saw this one coming.
5, Denham Springs softball team/Doyle girls basketball team: The Yellow Jackets didn’t win a district title, but rode hot bats all the way to a runner-up finish in 5A softball. Doyle hadn’t been to the Top 28 tourney since the late 1990s and finished as the 2A basketball runner-up.
Best championship season
1, Boys basketball: U-High was the Class 3A state champion, while Scotlandville in 5A and Madison Prep in 1A were runners-up. St. James in 2A and Donaldsonville in 3A also were in the semifinals.
2, Outdoor Track and field: Catholic High (boys) and Zachary (girls) were state champions in 5A while Dutchtown (boys) and Baton Rouge High (girls) were runner-up finishers. Episcopal swept the 2A boys and girls titles.
3, Cross country: Episcopal won its 18th straight boys title in 2A and Ascension Catholic its third by placing all five of its scoring runners in the top 10. ACHS swept the 1A boys and girls titles. Catholic High (5A boys runner-up), Catholic-Pointe Coupee (third, 1A girls), Episcopal (third, 2A girls) and St. Joseph’s Academy (third, 5A girls) were other leaders.
4, Swimming: Catholic (boys) and St. Joseph’s Academy (girls) swept Division I titles, while Episcopal won a Division IV girls title and placed second on the boys side to lead the way.
5, Baseball: There were no champions in this one and only Live Oak advanced to a title game, but you had St. Amant in the 5A semifinals, University and Brusly in 3A semifinals and St. John in the 1A semifinals. Some great baseball was played.
Top individual feats
1, Jewel Sumner’s Devin King sets national indoor pole vault record of with an effort of 17 feet, 10¼ inches; He then set Louisiana’s outdoor record of 17-8, breaking an LHSAA state meet record that stood more than 30 years.
2, Baton Rouge High’s Mikiah Brisco runs fourth-fastest time by an American high school girl in the 60 meters with a 6.94 seconds time at the New Balance Indoor Nationals.
3, U-High’s Nick Brossette becomes Louisiana’s all-time touchdowns leader with 132, a mark that ranks seventh nationally after scoring 37 TDs last fall.
4, Catholic’s Colin Bone sets records in three events at the LHSAA State Swim Meet. Bone swam the fastest time ever in the 200 freestyle and fourth-fastest in the 500 freestyle. And he set a record in the 100 freestyle swimming the lead leg on a relay.
5, Denham Springs softball player Jaden Accardo hits 14 home runs as a freshman, including three at the LHSAA State Softball Tournament.
1, Select/nonselect football playoffs: Though the LHSAA hopes for a huge increase in attendance didn’t happen with nine title games, there were some great games, including Union Parish and Livonia. And who can forget Acadiana’s stunning offensive effort in the 5A final.
2, Clement Mubungirwa’s fight for eligibility: The rule these days is to question everything the LHSAA does and those lobbying for the humble Episcopal student from a refugee camp in Uganda now have legislation passed to help get an added year of eligibility for the 19-year-old.
3, Livonia sues LHSAA and gets reinstated to baseball playoffs: Another case of questioning the rules and winning. The Wildcats were reinstated to the playoffs despite having to forfeit 18 games because of a player the LHSAA ruled ineligible.
4, LHSAA member schools continue path toward a full split: Could be the story of the year next year if a full split happens or even if the LHSAA subdivides. The fact that principals appeared primed to split the association in all or most sports despite the work by the School Relations Committee to bring the factions together was tough to watch.
5, Weather keeps LHSAA track meet from completing Day 2 of track meet until the next day/Poor attendance plagues boys basketball tourney in Lake Charles: Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the LHSAA outdoor meet, forcing the 2A and 1A running events to be postponed until Saturday, a day when three other meets were already scheduled. And more rain delayed the end of the 3A, 4A, 5A portion of the meet, the biggest interruption in a meet in at least 25 years. Despite some highly entertaining games, the LHSAA Boys Top 28 attracted its smallest crowds in decades in its first year in Lake Charles.
Best Cinderella story
Live Oak baseball team: Everyone knew the Eagles had talent, but after being overshadowed by Baton Rouge’s traditional powers all season, the Eagles were the last team standing in 5A baseball, pulling off huge upsets of Brother Martin and Jesuit along the way.
Most fantastic finish
Division I girls golf tournament: The best event no one saw other than a select few because the tourney was held in Benton. But the notion of three local teams, St. Joseph’s Academy, St. Michael and Zachary, needing a playoff to decide a team title with Zachary winning is something I’ve never seen.
Most consistent champion
Episcopal boys cross country team: The Knights won their 18th straight Class 2A cross country title, a streak that ranks second nationally.