St. Michael, Plaquemine boys and girls square off in key District 6-4A games _lowres

Advocate staff photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON -- St. Michael's Jacob Evans drives the ball pass Madison Prep's Chirstion Thompson during Tuesday night game at St. Michael.

Plaquemine boys basketball coach Donald Ray Johnson said before the start of District 6-4A play the league’s five teams had a combined record of 63-28.

Three teams — St. Michael the Archangel, Lutcher and Plaquemine — resided inside the state’s top 12 spots in the LHSAA’s unofficial power ratings.

“It’s going to be real competitive every night,” Johnson said.

The first week of games proved Johnson prophetic with Plaquemine opening with a 63-54 home victory over Lutcher, while St. Michael went on the road to defeat Tara 68-61.

That helps to set up what will serve as a series of significant games over the course of the eight-game schedule with St. Michael (19-3, 1-0) hosting Plaquemine (16-5, 1-0) on Tuesday at approximately 7:30 p.m.

“What’s different this year is the parity of the district is a lot better,” St. Michael coach Drew Hart said. “There’s nobody in this district that can’t beat somebody.”

The boys game will be proceeded at 6 p.m. with a similar theme in a game matching two of the district’s top teams with the Lady Warriors (15-9, 2-0) facing the Lady Green Devils (13-12, 2-0).

“The last couple of games we’ve faced a little bit of adversity and it’s built our character,” Plaquemine girls coach Brannon Dillon said. “This is the toughest game in district. They haven’t lost a district game in years.”

Plaquemine’s girls are riding a modest three-game win streak, including two straight to begin league play.

Kiffani Young and Asia Nelson lead the team with 12-point scoring averages in league play with O’Neisha Batiste at 11 points.

“Everyone’s been up and down,” St. Michael coach Tami Reynolds-McClure said the district in nondistrict play. “Plaquemine’s going to bring their game, and we’re going to bring ours. I think it’s going to be a good game. I’m glad we’re at our home court first.”

The Lady Warriors have rebounded from a difficult pre-district schedule to win their past four games, punctuated by decisive league wins over Lutcher and Tara.

Juniors Tyler Morrison and Sabree Wilson pace a balanced scoring effort with 14 and 10 points, respectively.

Plaquemine’s boys carried a 14-2 record into a recent stretch of nondistrict home games that resulted in losses to Madison Prep and McKinley by a combined total of seven points.

The Devils began league play last Friday with another single-digit result against Lutcher, following the 30 points of leading scorer of D.J. Marshall.

Marshall, one of four senior starters, tops Plaquemine with 15 points and 7 rebounds with reserve C.J. Young at nine.

“One positive thing about this group is they never get rattled,” Johnson said. “They have great poise. When teams make their runs, which I’m sure St. Michael will do, we’ll do a pretty good job of keeping our composure.”

With a veteran group returning St. Michael has been the model of consistency this season, having won 13 of its past 14 games and three straight.

To extend such a stretch of exemplary play, though, the Warriors are going to have to conquer a Green Devils squad that’s held the upper hand in recent games.

Cincinnati signee Jacob Evans tops St. Michael with a 26.2 scoring average, followed by David Ventress (14.1) and Nick Arcement (10.2).

“They’ve kind of owned us for the last two years,” Hart said. “We’ve worked hard to get prepared for this game. I think the kids are excited and hopefully the kids can execute on the court. Everybody’s going to rise their level of play and we’ve got to be able to match that.”