There’s reason for Breaux Bridge boys basketball coach Chad Pourciau to relish the seed his team attained in the Class 4A playoffs, and there’s reason for him to not care about it at all.
No, this isn’t some sort of coach-speak from Pourciau because he's experienced the cruel reality of the postseason. Although higher seeds offer more home games and, theoretically, an easier path for advancement, the playoffs ultimately come down to matchups.
This is Pourciau’s fourth season as the Tigers coach, and his team has been a top-10 seed in the playoffs twice before. As the No. 6 seed in his first year, Breaux Bridge lost in the the second round to No. 11 Fair Park. As the No. 4 seed in Pourciau’s third season, the Tigers lost to No. 13 Warren Easton — on a tip-in at the buzzer, to make the upset even more brutal.
So despite Breaux Bridge garnering the No. 3 seed in the Class 4A playoffs, released Monday afternoon, along with the 11 other brackets, Pourciau hesitates to celebrate that achievement.
“There’s a big ol’ monkey on our back here,” Pourciau said. “The second-round hurdle is there, so there’s a little pressure on us, a little weight on our shoulders. I know for me personally, for sure.”
The Tigers are not alone as far as Acadiana-area teams that nabbed high seeds in the postseason.
Five nonselect squads are seeded sixth or higher, including No. 3 Breaux Bridge, No. 5 Carencro and No. 6 Westgate in Class 4A. Abbeville received the No. 5 seed in Class 3A, and North Central secured the No. 2 seed in Class 1A.
As much as any local team, Abbeville made a significant jump from where it was seeded last season, going from No. 27 to No. 5.
“I had a couple of players that were out until midterm last year and didn’t get into a good groove,” Wildcats coach Berwick Hamilton said. “To have that same bunch of kids come back and start off strong and finish strong, it’s very rewarding and pleasing that kids would work that hard to get themselves in this position.”
Carencro, Westgate and North Central each reached the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Boys Basketball tournament last year, and the Bears took home the Class 4A title, their first in school history. Carencro, which claimed the District 4-4A championship despite losing five seniors from last season, was seeded fifth last year as well.
“It’s kind of freaky,” Kovatch joked of obtaining the same seed as last season. “I don’t know if it’s good or bad.”
North Central’s appearance in the semifinals last season was the third consecutive year the Hurricanes advanced a round further than the previous season. And North Central got all the way to Lake Charles without a single senior and only two juniors on its roster.
“One of the tactics that we want to use as coach is to show the film (of the loss to Delhi in the semifinals) during this entire playoff run, to show where we had fallen short and why we fell short,” Hurricanes coach Apphia Jordan said. “It’s definitely motivated us to be more aggressive. That’s one of the things that Delhi did. They ran off us off the boards and were more aggressive."
Fifteen other nonselect schools qualified for the playoffs, including nine that are hosting in the first round. There’s one all-area matchup in the first round — a Class 4A game between No. 15 Opelousas and No. 18 Northside.
On the select side, 14 teams punched tickets to the playoffs, half of which will be hosting their first game. Lafayette Christian, the two-time defending Division IV champion, highlights that list as the top seed in its bracket. Three select teams were seeded fourth — defending-champion St. Thomas More in Division II, Opelousas Catholic in Division IV and Northside Christian in Division V.
“Considering we were 11 three weeks ago, I’m pretty fired up to be No. 4,” STM coach Danny Broussard said. “I’m really excited about No. 4. Then we have two home games, and really you can’t ask for more than that. … Anything can happen once you get to the Top 28. I’ve learned that over time.”