Jehovah-Jireh and Crescent City have a shared basketball history. But for the first time in recent years, the two teams may need some pregame introductions.
“We graduated some people last year and so did Crescent City,” Jehovah-Jireh coach Dirk Ricks said. “So, it will be different in some ways. But I expect the competitiveness and intensity to be the same.”
Jehovah-Jireh (12-5) hosts Crescent City (8-4) for a notable nondistrict boys game set for about 7 p.m. Tuesday at Istrouma.
Both schools are among the leaders of the pack in their select divisions. Jehovah-Jireh, the three-time defending Division V champion, was ranked No. 1 in the LHSAA’s latest power ratings posted before the holidays.
Metairie-based Crescent City was No. 2 in Division IV, behind only Southern Lab in the most recent power ratings.
Those who follow Class B-C/Division V boys basketball know the history. The Warriors and Pioneers met in the first three Division V title games. Crescent City rallied to beat the Warriors 69-64 in overtime to win the title in 2017. JCA beat the Pioneers to 65-49 in the 2018 final and 56-45 in the 2019 final.
The teams also used to play on the first date to open the season in October. But that changed when Crescent City moved to Class 1A and Division III in 2019.
“When they moved to 1A, we pushed the date back to the first week in January,” Ricks said. “This is a game I think both teams still get a lot out of.
“We have three new starters. Overall, I am pleased. Any time you add new players to the lineup there is a adjustment. Guys have to take on new roles and sometimes those roles are different than what was expected.”
The two returning starters for the Warriors are notable. Each has been voted the MVP of a Division V title game. Ricks’ son, 6-foot-1 junior guard John-Paul Ricks, is averaging 28 points a game.
John-Paul Ricks was the title-game MVP in March when the Warriors beat Runnels 64-45 in the Division V final. Brandon Harton (6-4) was the title-game MVP in 2019. He is averaging 16 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots per game.
John-Paul Ricks and Harton have been consistent for JCA. The younger Ricks scored 40 in a game against New Iberia last week.
His father/coach notes that his totals against other large schools have been steady, including the 29 scored against Zachary. Harton has been a steady force in all phases of the game.
Guards Brennen Johnson (5-10) and Jaden Moore (6-0) are new to the JCA lineup along with 6-1 wing player Cameron Hunt.
“This is another chance to play and get better,” Dirk Ricks said. “I think that is what everybody is looking for right now.”