No. 4 Arcadia (25-5) vs. No. 3 Southern Lab (26-7)
When: 2 p.m.
How they got here: ARCADIA beat St. Frederick 70-34, Logansport 63-48, Varnado 65-62 and Lafayette Christian 54-47. SOUTHERN LAB beat Hanson Memorial 93-47, Crescent City Christian 68-50, Grambling 76-56 and Tensas 63-33.
Last state title: Arcadia none; Southern Lab 2005.
THE CASE FOR ARCADIA: Believe in teams of destiny? If you do, the Hornets are your kind of team. They’ve been a Top 28 regular for years and lost in the semifinals the past three years. Travious Fields and Danquarian Fielding were an impressive duo in the semifinals. Arcadia’s poised dissection of top-seeded Lafayette Christian in the semifinals may signal that its time has come. What better way than to do it with a win over a longtime nemesis?
THE CASE FOR SOUTHERN LAB: If you love tradition, the Kittens are for you. Former SLHS star Devan Clark returned to his alma mater intent on putting the Kittens back among Louisiana’s basketball elite in just two seasons. This Southern Lab team has just two seniors and wins with balance and defense, not star power. Dexter Dennis and Tyreon Payne were in the semifinal spotlight. High energy helps offset the inexperience.
No. 2 Riverside (28-5) vs. No. 1 Madison Prep (33-4)
When: 4 p.m.
How they got here: RIVERSIDE ACADEMY beat Catholic-NI 95-43, Lakeview 62-52, Dunham 81-48 and Country Day 71-52. MADISON PREP beat Loreauville 99-46, Newman 60-17, Many 80-26 and North Caddo 66-56 in double overtime.
Last state title: Riverside 2015 in 2A, Madison Prep 2015 in 1A.
The case for Riverside: The Rebels looked to be in their usual tournament form after an easier-than-expected win over district rival Country Day in the semifinals. This is Timmy Byrd’s seventh straight year leading battle-tested Riverside to the title game. Seasoned veterans like Herb McGee (South Alabama signee) and Malik Crowfield (VCU) won’t be fazed by the bright lights of a big game. Those two, plus sophomore Jared Butler, will need to have their 3-point shots falling to claim a fourth straight state title.
The case for Madison Prep: A gritty 66-56 double-overtime semifinal win over North Caddo proved the Chargers weren’t softened up by a lack of challenges during a 15-game winning streak. Josh Anderson established himself as one of Louisiana’s top players in the North Caddo game. Sophomore Josh LeBlanc is another rising star. The Chargers must stay calm and weather the storm that comes with playing Riverside for the first time. This one could be a classic.
No. 4 Wossman (35-8) vs. No. 2 University (30-4)
When: 6 p.m.
How they got here: WOSSMAN beat Loyola 80-66, Glen Oaks 58-52, Patterson 65-58 and Peabody 60-57. UNIVERSITY beat Ville Platte 95-63, Brusly 56-41, De La Salle 67-45 and St. Louis Catholic 71-57.
Last state title: Wossman 2008; University 2015.
The case for Wossman: The Wildcats’ Casey Jones Jr. authored the signature Marsh Madness moment when he made the game-winning shot from half court to take down top-seeded Peabody. Though Jones is a star player averaging 23.1 points per game, Wossman has had other players step into lead roles in the playoffs. And if you’re the Wildcats, you have to be thinking, “We took down No. 1, why not beat No. 2 and just win the whole thing?”
The case for University: No one can question the Cubs’ pedigree or title-game experience. U-High has won the past two Class 3A state titles, and, though the lineup this time is different, it’s been extremely effective with Jalen Johnson and Wayde Sims both averaging more than 21 points per game. This team plays with a underdog’s mentality simply because skeptics thought they couldn’t win big after losing three starters. U-High must channel that one more time.