For the past two seasons, Salmen High School has taken the Class 4A state championship trophy back to Slidell.
Warren Easton coach Darius Mimms would like nothing more than to change that.
“We want what Salmen has,” Mimms said. “That’s the championship. I have the utmost respect for what they are doing across the lake. They have two trophies that I feel could have been ours. Now we have the opportunity to get one for ourselves.”
That opportunity comes at 6 p.m. Saturday at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles when No. 1 seeded Easton (32-1) takes on No. 2 Salmen (27-4) in an all- New Orleans area championship game.
It is a rematch of the 2014 championship game that Salmen won 56-48.
Salmen was the No. 1 seed last year and Easton was the No. 2 seed.
This time the roles are reversed.
It will be the fourth meeting of the season between the Eagles and Spartans, with Easton winning two of three.
Easton won the first meeting 63-54. Salmen won the second meeting 56-44 in the Sugar Bowl Classic. Easton won the final meeting 56-55. But none of those previous three meetings matter Saturday.
“It will be another battle,” Salmen coach Kevin Anderson said.
While Anderson is going for his third straight title, Mimms is seeking his first after reaching the semifinals two years ago and the title game last year.
“I still have to get the monkey off my back,” Mimms said. “Myself and these threes ladies (Kechelle Figueroa, Shaniqua Tobias and Sabrina Banks) have moved one step closer every year.”
That trio of players, along with Keairia Williams and Nikole Haroon, will look to bring a state championship trophy to Canal Street for the first time.
To do so, they will have to beat their nemesis, led by 6-foot-6 senior Kalani Brown, who will be playing the final game of her stellar high school career.
“We know that Kalani is probably the most dominant female basketball player in a while,” Mimms said. “She is very skilled.”
Brown, a McDonald’s All-American and Baylor signee, is Salmen’s all-time leading scorer.
“They are a great team,” Brown said of Easton. “That team can match up with us better than anyone. If we do what we are supposed to do defensively and offensively, we can come out on top.”
While Brown gets most of the attention for the Spartans, they showed Thursday they are more than just a one-person team.
Tiara Warren scored a team-high 19 points and freshman Arianna Cooks had 18 in the 66-57 semifinal victory over Karr.
“When they hit those perimeter shots, it takes pressure off me,” Brown said.
Salmen will likely be short-handed though.
Deja Starks, the Spartans 5-foot-9 junior forward, injured her knee in the semifinals and was on crutches after the game.
The Spartans will have to slow down a balanced Easton attack.
“The special thing about this team is nobody worries about points,” Mimms said. “Kechelle could easily average 20 points a game with her eyes closed. But there is not a selfish bone in any of them.”
Tip-off can’t get here soon enough for Mimms.
“We have 32 minutes left,” he said.