St. Martinville beats St. Thomas More in showdown _lowres

The Advocate photo by BRAD KEMP St. Martinville's Drapper Anthony, right, steals the ball from St. Thomas More's Duece Wallace on Friday night at STM.

St. Martinville ended the regular season on a five-game win streak and emerged from a competitive District 5-4A with the league’s top seed.

The Tigers bounced back from a 67-66 road loss to Teurlings Catholic to finish in a tie with St. Thomas More, then defeated the Cougars 60-55 in a special playoff game for the district’s No. 1 seed.

With one goal complete No. 8 St. Martinville (23-8) turns its attention to the next objective on the team’s pyramid of success: win the school’s first playoff game in seven years when No. 25 Huntington (16-12) visits Friday in a Class 4A first-round playoff game at 7 p.m.

“It’s time to go and chalk up one of those bidistrict games and go from there,” longtime St. Martinville coach Darrel Mitchell said. “It bothers me that we haven’t won one since 2007. It’s something we think about. We’re always confident that all you have to do is get in and go from there.”

St. Martinville is one of three teams from District 5-4A — the others being St. Thomas More and Teurlings Catholic — hosting bidistrict-round games Friday and one of 24 teams from the Acadiana region in action.

District 3-5A runner-up Comeaux (20-9) takes its seven-game win streak to New Orleans for a 7 p.m. game with No. 9 Brother Martin (21-7).

“They’re prepared, so I believe we have a fighting chance,” Comeaux coach Jeremy Whittington said. “We’ve got to slow them down offensively and box out. If we do those two things, I know our kids have a fighting chance.”

Because of a slow start to the season — losing seven straight games — District 6-3A champion Abbeville finds itself traveling when the No. 20 Wildcats (18-10) head to Shreveport to meet No. 13 Booker T. Washington (20-7) at 7 p.m.

“Going on the highway, they’re all the same,” Abbeville coach Berwick Hamilton said. “Honestly, I think we’re a better road team. It will be a challenge, but you have to play them as you get them. At this point, none of them are going to be easy. We’re ready.”

St. Martinville last won a playoff game in 2007, making a run all the way to the Class 4A semifinals.

Since then the Tigers have endured seven consecutive first-round losses, twice losing to the eventual state champion (STM, Salmen) and twice to the eventual runners-up (Neville, Salmen).

Bradley Savoy (13 points) leads a balanced St. Martinville offense with Drapper Anthony and Javante Walker chipping 12 apiece.

“We’re comfortable with where we are,” Mitchell said. “The kids have been playing well. I’m very pleased.”

Comeaux has won its past five first-round playoff games, including a semifinal run in 2013, but have a much different cast this season, with only two seniors in prominent roles.

One of those is Minnesota football signee Hunter Register, a 6-foot-5 swingman, whose 19.5 scoring averages lead the Spartans who also count on senior Jaleel Moore (13.6) and freshmen center DeVaughn Thomas (8.0) and point guard Ferontay Banks (five points, seven assists).

“You can’t ask for a better opportunity than getting to go to Brother Martin,” Whittington said. “We get to go to a storied program and prove we’re a program that wants to be known as a year-in- and year-out-competitor.”

Abbeville, which has won its past eight games, is one of three district champions in Class 3A traveling in the first round with No. 18 Pine Prairie and No. 19 Miller-McCoy following suit.

The Wildcats, led by Isaiah Antoine’s 16 points, meet a BTW team that finished in a tie for second in District 1-3A with Bossier and behind champion Evangel Christian.

“These kids have earned this,” said Hamilton, whose team missed the playoffs a year ago.

“They’ve accomplished a lot to get back in the playoffs, and they want to continue playing. We want to be playing Tuesday night.”