Lafayette Christian Academy plans to continue making a name for itself this week as it hosts the 2015 LCA Showcase Classic in the biggest tournament the boys basketball team has hosted in its five-year history.
The tournament will feature diverse group of teams from across south Louisiana, from local teams like Rayne and Abbeville to a newer program looking to find its footing in Lake Charles College Prep to one of the state’s most well-established in University Lab.
“This is the first time with a tournament like this,” LCA coach Byron Starks said. “This is the first major tournament we’re hosting, and we invited some high-caliber teams. It’s going to be an all-star kind of tournament.”
The Knights have spared no expense in the tournament. Coaches will receive special packages for participating, fans have the chance to buy $200 VIP tickets for unlimited access to the tournament’s games, food as well as a gift package, and the eight players selected to the all-tournament team will receive Monster 24K Gold Professional DJ Style headphones with a retail price of $240. In addition to the headphones, the player selected as the tournament MVP will receive a gold Hoverboard 360, which, before sold out, ran $648.99 on the product’s website.
“We have good sponsors,” Starks said.
But before any awards are given out, there are games to be played, and Starks said his team is focused on the task.
The obstacles the Knights must face come in the form of fellow Acadiana-area team Abbeville on Wednesday and U-High in a game Friday that LCA hopes will break an attendance record at its gym.
Starks said he doesn’t want his team looking too far ahead, but there’s no doubt that a game against the Cubs on LCA’s home court is a big moment, both historically and as a gauge for how well the Knights perform under pressure.
“It’s going to give us an opportunity to see what we can do against a high-caliber team, and that’s always a plus,” Starks said. “They’ve won multiple championships, and it’s a good opportunity to see what we can do against a program like that. We’ll have our hands full, but it’s a welcome challenge.”
Still, Starks said the Knights remained focused on the task in front of them, which involves going up against a pesky, well-coached Abbeville squad at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“They’re a scrappy team, they have good guard play, they’re skilled and take care of the basketball and they’ll take the ball away from you,” Starks said. “(Coach) Berwick Hamilton has done a great job with any team he’s coached. I think they’ll be a great challenge for us.”
Before the game between LCA and the Wildcats, Rayne will take on Lake Charles College Prep, a team whose roster is limited to freshmen and sophomores, as the new school is yet to admit upperclassmen.
Rather than a bracket format, the tournament will be a sort of round-robin, with all games of already scheduled and point differential playing a major factor in who comes away with the first-place trophy.
Starks said he’s more concerned with his team gaining valuable experience than winning the tournament, and he feels other coaches feel the same way, so he and the LCA staff put together a tournament of what they felt were the best matchups.
“We just want good competition,” Starks said. “We want to go out and play and compete, whether it be a round-robin or a bracket tournament. That was the mindset we went to when planning this tournament.”