Two years ago, Parkview Baptist won the Division II select girls basketball title and the year before that the Eagles were the Class 3A runner-up.
As her team prepares for its Division II first-round playoff game, Parkview coach Christina Lockett Anderson sees both sides of the LHSAA’s playoff dilemma.
The 14th-seeded Eagles (6-14) host No. 19 E.D. White Catholic (5-23) at 6 p.m. Thursday for a game that matches two teams with losing records. Playoff games that feature teams with losing records have been a recurring theme since LHSAA principals voted to expand the select/nonselect playoff split past football to include basketball, baseball and softball.
“I am willing to have the conversation about the playoffs and possible changes with anyone,” Anderson said. “I would like to see all schools play in seven classes like we used to. This is the system we have. We are preparing for a playoff game and our goal is to advance.”
The playoff teams/losing records debate started in 2013, the first year of the football split when winless, one-win and two-win teams made the playoffs. Expanding the split in 2016-17 took the debate to another level.
The 2019 select girls basketball brackets fuel the discourse. Under the traditional system in which select/nonselect teams played together, teams with winless and losing records were typically filtered out of the playoffs. Those teams fill out bracket spots in multiple sports.
Division II is made up and 4A and 3A select teams. The EDW-Parkview game is one four first-round matchups that feature two teams with losing records. Three others have one team with a losing record.
Anderson, who also serves as principal at PBS and played at Bethany Christian, provides a rationale for her team.
“In the old system, you had to earn your way into the playoffs,” Anderson said. “Now you win to prove you belong. The thing I’ll always remember about this group is their personality. We've learned so much about each other. We've learned to laugh and we've fought.”
The debate involves more than Division II. For example, in Division I/Class 5A, five of the eight schools have losing records, including 0-19 Evangel Christian, which plays top-seeded John Curtis.
There are six Division V/Class B-C teams and just two of those teams have winning records. Family Christian (19-11) is one of the two teams with a winning record.
Thursday night will be game, not debate time for PBS. Sophomore Aaliyah Cyprian leads Parkview with a 20.0 scoring average. Jalyn Wright contributes 14.0. Win or lose, Thursday’s game will serve as a bridge to next season.
“I can't speak for other teams. These are not just girls wearing uniforms – they’re competitors,” Anderson said.
Second season, new gym
Second-seeded Walker (29-4) of Class 5A is set to play its first game in the school’s new Thursday night. The Lady Cats host No. 31 Destrehan (17-16) at 6 p.m.
The new gym is part of a large construction project at the school. It was turned over to school officials by the contractor late last week. The Walker boys team hosted games with Denham Springs last Friday and Live Oak on Tuesday.
“The girls got to watch the boys game the other night and saw what it is like. We’ve practiced in there,” Walker acting coach Hannah Jones said. “I think they are excited about it. But it is a lot different. There is more space and you shooting perception is different.”