What happens when you take a top-seeded team and match it up against a No. 8 team that prides itself in pulling off an upset? You get St. Thomas More at Lee for a Division II select quarterfinal playoff game.
The teams meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at Lee, highlighting a busy schedule of quarterfinal games. At stake for all the teams is a berth in the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Girls Basketball tournament set to begin Monday in Alexandria.
“We respect all our opponents and never take anything for granted,” Lee coach Valencia Wilson said. “St. Thomas More is no exception. We are well aware of the tradition they have and have wanted to schedule a game against them. We expect them to be ready for us.”
Wilson and STM coach Stephen Strojny understand the delicate balance involved. The goal is to execute the game plan, while being prepared for whatever the other team throws at you.
“Lee Magnet is one of the best teams in all classes,” Strojny said. “If I were to rank them, I would put John Curtis first and then Lee right there with Sam Houston. My girls understand what the challenge is. In six of the last seven years they’ve upset a higher seed in the playoffs and it is something they take pride in.”
Most notable for STM was a 2013 semifinal upset of a Warren Easton team that had beaten the Cougars by 28 points earlier in the season. Lee has won 23 of its past 24 games and seeks its third straight tourney berth after finishing as the Division II runner-up last season.
Diamond Hunter is averaging 21.7 points a game for Lee, while Emily Bourque leads STM with a 15.0 average.
More of the same
There is a familiar quarterfinal storyline for defending Class 5A champion East Ascension (23-2) and last year’s Class 3A runner-up, Madison Prep (20-13).
A year ago, EAHS beat Barbe in Lake Charles to advance to its first LHSAA tourney since the 1990s. Now the fifth-seeded Spartans head back to Lake Charles to face No. 4 LaGrange (28-7).
Meanwhile, No. 2 MPA hosts seventh-seeded Donaldsonville (23-7) for a rematch of a regular-season game played earlier this month. Both games are set for 6 p.m. DHS is led by Daija Harvey, who scored her 1,000th career point earlier this year.
“They know what we do and we know what they do,” MPA coach Dwayne Hayes said. “We’ll see who does it better.”
Runner-up vs. No. 2 seed
Second-seeded Walker (31-4) hosts No. 7 Natchitoches Central (21-8), also at 6 p.m. NCHS was the 5A runner-up to East Ascension last season.
“We’ve have got to come ready to play ball,” Walker acting coach Hannah Jones said. “I think we match up pretty well because we both like to play fast. But it’s constant motion.”
LSU signee Tiara Young leads Walker with a 34.0 scoring average.