It would be easy to wax poetic about a possible basketball milestone for University High.
Coach Joe Spencer insists that locking in on the grindstone for one more game is the major motivation as U-High meets Wossman in the Class 3A title game that helps conclude the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Boys Top 28 tournament.
“Other than Jalen (Johnson), I don’t think the other guys look at this from a historical perspective,” said Spencer, whose team goes for its third straight state championship. “I think they’re more focused on doing this as a team and doing it for themselves.
“This team is different than the last two, and they’ve embraced their roles and taken ownership. They want to see this through.”
Game time is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles for the game that matches the second-seeded Cubs (30-4) and No. 4 Wossman (35-8).
The Cubs meeting Wossman and not top-seeded Peabody is somewhat of a surprise. Guard Casey Jones Jr., the son of the Wossman coach, made a game-winning 3-pointer from half court to give the Wildcats a 60-57 semifinal win over the Warhorses.
Contrast that with U-High’s efficient work in the half court in a 14-point semifinal win over St. Louis Catholic and you see the possibilities.
There is star power. The 5-foot-10 Jones averages 23.1 points per game. U-High is led by its dynamic duo of the 6-7 Johnson (21.8 points per game) and 6-6 LSU signee Wayde Sims (21.2 ppg).
And there are those expectations for UHS. A win would give U-High three state titles in a row in boys basketball for the first time in school history. Sims and Johnson are the holdovers from a group that started crafting a legacy as eighth-grade starters.
University has a .762 winning percentage at the Top 28, a number that ranks second only to Class B Zwolle (86.1 percent) among teams that have played 20 or more tourney games.
Spencer said putting the past in its proper place Saturday shouldn’t be a problem
“Wossman is a great basketball team,” Spencer said. “We may have more height overall, but their players on the wing go 6-3 to 6-4 and they’re very guard-oriented. They’ll want to push the pace just like St. Louis did, and they’re capable of doing it better.
“We’ve to be able to get back defensively to offset that. And we also have to be able to control the boards.”
Spencer’s advice to the Cubs is simple — play hard and play your roles — one more time.