HAMMOND — There should be something for everyone Saturday at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s The Advocate/Southeast Regional tournament.
The five semifinal boys basketball games set for SLU’s University Center feature two defending state champions, two top seeds, two No. 2 seeds, two New Orleans area traditional powers, a hometown favorite and an LSU signee.
Games begin at 1 p.m. with Class B top seed Madison Prep taking on No. 4 Castor (35-5). MPA is led by 6-foot-9 LSU signee Jarell Martin.
At 2:45 p.m., defending champion Christian Life (27-5) takes on No. 4 Metairie Park Country Day (24-10) in 1A action. The two teams have met several times in the finals, most recently in 2010, when CLA beat Country Day to win the title.
Back-to-back 2A semifinals follow. No. 2 University High (30-2) meets third-seeded Riverside Academy (26-5), a traditional New Orleans area power, at 4:30 p.m. At 6:15 p.m., Hammond’s St. Thomas Aquinas (26-5), the No. 4 seed, takes on No. 8 Winnfield in the other 2A semifinal.
At 8 p.m., the three-day event concludes with a 5A semifinal that matches defending champion Scotlandville (32-2) against third-seeded Comeaux (30-4). Scotlandville is the No. 2 seed.
CASTOR VS. MADISON PREP: Madison Prep makes its second straight semifinal appearance in Hammond and looks to advance to the finals for the first time.
Martin averages 26.3 points and 14.1 rebounds per game. Brandon Sampson (16.3 points per game) and Chad Williams (11.2 ppg) are other Chargers leaders.
“Castor is a very skilled group of guys who have been together for a while,” Madison Prep coach Jeffery Jones said. “They’re hard-nosed defensively and try to control the game. We’re excited about making it back to the semis. We want to go and finish.”
Castor of Bienville Parish is a veteran squad featuring six seniors.
COUNTRY DAY VS. CHRISTIAN LIFE: This game features traditional 1A powers.
“Obviously they’re going to be well coached and well prepared,” CLA coach Mark Cascio said. “What makes them tough to guard is they’ve got a really good post player, and they shoot well from the perimeter.”
Johnathan Stove (6-4) leads Christian Life with a 20.0 scoring average, while R.J. Hertzog (6-3) averages 12.0. Country Day’s 6-9 Scott Plaisance averages 15.4. Michael Corchiani (10.1) and Kent McGuire (10.5) are other MPCD leaders.
RIVERSIDE VS. UNIVERSITY: The first 2A semifinal matches Riverside, last year’s 2A runner-up and a longtime power, and UHS, having its best season in recent years. Riverside claimed a lopsided win when the teams met in the regular season.
“Neither team is going to surprise each other,” Riverside coach Timmy Byrd said. “U-High was without a starter the first time. They’re more than capable of reversing what happened in the first game.”
The freshman-laden U-High team is led by 6-5 Wayde Sims (17.3 ppg). Three other Cubs, Jalen Johnson, Henry Shortess and D.J. White, average 11 to 12 points a game.
Freshman Malik Crowfield (17.0) is the top scorer for RCA. Charvon Julien and Jordan Andrews each average 13.0.
WINNFIELD VS. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS: St. Thomas Aquinas looks to continue building on a season of momentum. Winnfield, a No. 8 seed, has a balanced attack that includes LSU football signee Michael Patterson.
“It is a special weekend,” STA coach Errol Gauff said. “I think this team has exceeded expectations of what people thought they could do. I know we’ll play hard. I also know how hard Winnfield competes. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
Cody Addison (6-3) leads STA with a 16.5 scoring average, while Vincent Walker adds 12.5.
COMEAUX VS. SCOTLANDVILLE: Scotlandville has a balanced attack with four double-figures scorers led by 6-9 Damian Jones (15.3 ppg) and 6-5 Brian Bridgewater (15.4). Comeaux is led by 6-2 Hayward Register (19.0) and 6-5 Julian Thomas (18.0)
“They (the Spartans) are pretty good and have a great player in the Register kid,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said. “I want to see my guys play the way they have been.
“We need to play with confidence and toughness for 32 minutes. I think we have to be able to defend them in the halfcourt.”