St. Thomas More, Lafayette Christian, Patterson seek Top 28 tournament berths _lowres

Advocate photo by PAUL KIEU -- Lafayette Christian's Jacob LeDoux shoots over North Caddo's Chris Thomas during the Sunkist Shootout on Dec. 29.

With his team trailing by three at halftime, St. Thomas More coach Danny Broussard’s message in the locker room was simple, he needed his ballclub to get back on defense.

“We weren’t in a panicked mode. I just felt we hadn’t played that well because we weren’t getting back on defense,” Broussard said. “Our guys would shoot and just watch, and their guys would bleed out and get easy layups.”

The Cougars responded and the result was a 20-point win over crosstown foe Carenco.

The victory propelled STM into a quarterfinal match up with Plaquemine, a program Broussard is familiar with.

“We’re two established basketball programs, and they’re going to have a great crowd.”

While the Cougars have played the previous two games at home, STM is no stranger to the road.

“We’ve played a lot of road games for a reason,” Broussard said. “If you’re going to win a state championship, you’re going to have to win one on the road.”

STM and Plaquemine will tip off at 7 p.m. Friday.

The area’s only other top seed also advanced, but just like STM, Lafayette Christian Academy was also tested early on in their second-round game.

Lafayette Christian coach Bryon Starks expected a tight contest and had his team prepared.

“(Haynesville) got off to a good start, but we were able to stay the course,” Starks said. “Everyone is going to give us their best shot.”

With a Top 28 tournament berth at stake, Starks and his Knights aren’t taking any team or game for granted.

“We prepare for every game like it’s a championship game,” Starks said. “Friday, we need to bring energy and be smart with the basketball.”

The Knights will host Hamilton Christian at 7 p.m. Friday.

In other area action, Class 3A’s fifth seeded Patterson will travel to face fourth-seeded Wossman.

Patterson coach Ryan Taylor said defense will be pivotal if his team is to get the win and advance to the Top 28.

“We’re going to have to be focused on our help-side defense, (Wossman) has multiple guards that can put the ball on the floor,” Taylor said. “If we do a good job of being in position and blocking out, we will put ourselves in good position to win the game.”

Taylor pointed to his team’s experience and leadership as another factor that could help his team prevail.

“We’ve got a good group of seniors who’ve been on the floor a lot for us, they’re familiar with what to expect when you play on the road.

“We talk about it all the time. No matter who we play when we go on the road, anything outside the lines can’t score a bucket, as long as we stay focused and everyone does his job.”