Dunham senior Ben Bernhard not flashy but valuable cog in team posting 21-5 record _lowres

Advocate file photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Dunham's Ben Bernhard, right, and Levi Bradley defend Episcopal's Chris Beckman Jr. in a game last season.

It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season.

Basketball coaches say that all the time and sometimes the cliché turns into a reality.

The Dunham School boys basketball coach Jonathan Pixley doesn’t believe in the cliché or the reasoning behind it. That won’t stop the Tigers (20-10) from trying to net their first win of the season over rival Episcopal.

Dunham, the 14th seed in Class 2A, travels to No. 3 Episcopal for a regional playoff at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Most regional games have 7 p.m. starts.

“The reason I don’t buy it is because there’s usually a reason why you lose to a team twice,” Pixley said. “And the reason is usually that the other team is better than you are.

“Now what I do believe is this: on any given night anything can happen. We’re going to make some adjustments and throw everything we have, including the kitchen sink, at Episcopal. That’s what you do in the playoffs.”

The game between the two District 6-2A rivals is part of a busy regional schedule that includes a number of games being played in the Baton Rouge area.

Episcopal beat Dunham 46-42 the first time the teams played in January. The Tigers lost to the Knights 69-43 in the rematch Feb. 10.

It is one of two intriguing all-local contests set for Tuesday. Donaldsonville (21-8), the 25th seed in 3A, hosts No. 9 Port Allen (24-6) in Class 3A action. The Pelicans are led by 6-foot-8 Ishmael Lane, while DHS will counter with 6-6 LSU football commitment Stephen Sullivan and sharpshooter Braxton Bernard.

“They’re definitely not what you think a 25 seed is,” PAHS coach Brandon Ricard said. “They were in the (Top 28) tournament last year. They’ve got size and some guys who can shoot. We’ve got size and some guys who can shoot. It’s a great matchup, especially for the second round.”

Another notable matchup is in Class 4A where fourth-seeded Plaquemine (24-6) hosts No. 13 St. Thomas More (22-8).

The teams have some playoff history, but it has typically come in later rounds. The competitive nature of 4A makes a regional game like this possible, PHS coach Donald Ray Johnson said.

“I think 4A is just so tough from top to bottom,” Johnson said. “You know you’re going to meet someone good, and for us it’s St. Thomas More. They’re a disciplined team that is not going to beat themselves. The thing we have to do is use the quickness we have to our advantage.”

The area’s two top seeds, University in 3A and Madison Prep in 1A, take different regional routes.

UHS (29-3) hosts No. 16 Madison Parish, a longtime 2A power. MPA (31-1) travels to No. 17 Tensas.

Only four local teams remain in the top two classes. Third-seeded Scotlandville hosts No. 14 Alexandria in one 5A game, while No. 23 Denham Springs (23-8) hosts No. 7 C.E. Byrd.

In Class 4A, 10th-seeded St. Michael the Archangel (25-6) travels to No. 7 Leesville.

Eighth-seeded Runnels (19-12) hosts No. 9 Hannan. Sixth-seeded White Castle (24-7) and No. 8 Southern Lab (19-6) also host games. White Castle faces No. 11 Plain Dealing, while SLHS hosts No. 9 Delhi at 6 p.m. at Seymour gym.