Mount Carmel tops Mandeville _lowres

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--Mount Carmel's Lauren Bodino gets past Mandeville's Sarah Jane Ladut in a December game at Mount Carmel.

Unlike most coaches, Mount Carmel’s Kevin McGlathery didn’t have to scramble around hunting down film or coming up with a scouting report for his team’s opening round playoff opponent.

McGlathery and his team knows their opening-round opponent all too well.

Mount Carmel begins its bid for a Class 5A repeat Thursday when it hosts Chapelle at 6 p.m. in the bidistrict round of the LHSAA girls basketball playoffs.

It will be the fourth meeting in the past month between the two District 9-5A teams.

Mount Carmel, a No. 6 seed, won all three of the regular season matchups against No. 28 seed Chapelle by double digits (44-29, 54-41 and 63-31).

But McGlathery knows none of those past scores mean anything at this point.

“Right now, everybody is just trying to go 5-0,” McGlathery said. “You’re always concerned when you play a team that many times, especially when it is a team that well coached and plays aggressive. They know our tendencies. The girls on both teams know each other. We know they are going to be ready.”

Chapelle has shown this season that it can be dangerous. It played Warren Easton, the top seed in Class 4A, to within three points (45-42).

McGlathery, an assistant on last year’s championship Mount Carmel team, is hoping his team can hit its stride in the playoffs like it did last year when it won it all despite being a No. 9 seed.

“We are coming along,” McGlathery said. “I don’t think we have hit our peak yet. We know Chapelle is going to be a big enough challenge, and we’ll have to play our best.”

Although Mount Carmel earned a better seed than last year, McGlathery knows the road to Lake Charles, site of the state tournament, will still be tough.

“I honestly think everybody has a shot,” he said. “Some teams, of course, have a harder road. And there is a bit of luck that comes into play.

“Talent wise, I feel like we match up with anybody in the state.”

Mount Carmel versus Chapelle is one of three opening- round games featuring New Orleans area teams that will be playing in a rematch from the regular season.

Destrehan, which played Mount Carmel in the Class 5A championship game last season, is a No. 4 seed and will host District 7-5A foe East St. John, a No. 29 seed, Friday. Destrehan beat East St. John 94-53 and 60-39.

“Unlike the other two, if you lose this one you’re out,” said Destrehan coach Angi Butler. “Even though we beat them, we were up by only 10 or 15 at the half so it wasn’t like we blew them out the water.”

Destrehan enters the playoffs riding an 11-game winning streak. Their two losses came to Cabrini and Salmen.

“Our goal is to finish strong,” Butler said. “The big picture has gotten bigger. Our goal is to get as far as we can get and come home with a state championship.

“We have to get five wins to get there, and we want this to be our first one.”

Also in Class 5A, No. 20 seed Fontainebleau travels to No. 13 seed Covington.

The teams split a pair of District 6-5A games this season, with Fontainebleau winning the first one 45-42 and Covington winning the rematch 56-44.

In Class 1A, No. 3 West St. John will play No. 30 Ascension Christian. The Rams won those two games 57-34 and 54-29.