Acadia Parish Boy's Basketball Playoff Roundup: Gents, Rebels, Warriors, Wolves host first round games

CROWLEY – With the prep boys’ basketball playoffs beginning tonight, Crowley coach Derrick Boone has a warning for his No. 6-seeded Gents: Don’t underestimate the Bunkie Panthers.

“Their record doesn’t reflect the type of team that they have,” said Boone of the Panthers who finished at 7-5 in District 3-3A play.

“They are not a 27-ranked team. They could be in the top 10 as far as talent wise and their style of play. I think we’ll be pretty evenly matched because they are a very athletic team.”

The matchup, which takes place at the CHS gym beginning at 7 o’clock, is one of five involving Acadia Parish teams tonight.

Elsewhere, Notre Dame travels to Patterson, Midland hosts Shongaloo, Northside Christian hosts McManus and Rayne hosts Priestley Charter.

In Crowley, Boone believes the Gents will get all they want from the Panthers.

From scouting reports he has received, Boone sees Bunkie as a very aggressive team that relies on its defense. The Panthers have held their opponents to just over 40 points per contest. They held Class 1A’s No. 1 seed North Central well below their average in a 60-51 loss early in the season and also limited Northwest to 34 points in a 35-34 victory on the road.

“This year, they might be the second- or third-best man-to-man team that we play,” said Boone. “In Class 3A, they are one of the best man-to-man teams as far as defense goes.”

Bunkie admittedly has struggled some on the offensive side. But the Panthers finished the regular season strong, averaging 64 points in their last five games.

“They have problems scoring, but they make up for that with their defense,” said Boone. “They don’t really like to run up and down the floor. They don’t like high-scoring games. They try to control the tempo but I think if we can pick up the pace and make them play catchup, it will be in our favor.

“It’s going to be a hard-fought game as far as matchups go,” said Boone. “With our game plan and execution, hopefully, we can outdo them on that end.”

ND at Patterson

After a two-year hiatus from postseason play, Notre Dame’s Pios return to playoff action this evening when they travel to Patterson to take on the No. 7 seeded Lumberjacks.

Tipoff is set for 7 o’clock.

The Pioneers finished the regular season at 12-15 and were 4-5 in a rugged district that included No. 5 Abbeville and No. 9 Rayne as well as No. 31 North Vermilion.

“Our goal all season long was to get into the playoffs,” said ND coach Raymond Griffin. “It’s hard, especially for high school kids, to keep that goal in mind in mid December because you really don’t see that light at the end of the tunnel. But the kids kept working hard and we got better and better as the season went on and we finally won some games.”

Notre Dame enters tonight’s contest after defeating North Vermilion a week ago, 86-73, in both team’s regular season finale.

“That was a big win for us,” said Griffin of the North Vermilion victory. “It was big because now the kids realize that they can take something that’s really difficult and be successful. I feel like the kids are real confident right now, probably the most confident that we’ve been all season. After a big win like that, everybody was kind of riding high.

“I just hope that week off doesn’t effect us too much. But we’ve had a couple of real good practices the last few days and the moral is high.”

Griffin feels that the strength of his district has prepared his Pios for the challenge they will face against Patterson.

“They are very quick and very athletic,” said Griffin of the Lumberjacks. “They’re going to be good, they’re going to be scrappy and they’re going to do a good job of trapping and flying to the ball. But it’s not anything different than what we’ve faced in district. All the teams in our district are really athletic.

“I think Abbeville is a good measuring stick in itself. If we can play Abbeville to a 13-point game, there’s no reason that maybe we can’t do that against Patterson or anybody in Class AAA in the state.”

Griffin says the key for the Pios will be for them to not get caught up in the underdog role and for them to maintain a high level of play on the road.

The Lumberjacks are 10-3 on their home court with two of those losses occurring in their first three games.

“It’s going to be a challenge, especially at their place,” said Griffin. “But it’s just like the movie Hoosiers: The basket is still 10 feet tall, the court is still 92-94 feet long.

“It’s still just another basketball game. We can’t get caught up in the No. 7 versus No. 26 thing. It’s just another game and someone will come out as the winner. It will probably be the team that plays the hardest.”

Shongaloo @ Midland

The Midland Rebels, despite losing four starters from last year’s state runnersup squad, are once again at the top of the heap in Class B.

The (22-9) survived some woes early in the season and they enter tonight’s Class B bidistrict matchup against Shangaloo as the No. 4 seed.

Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Midland High School.

“I didn’t expect to be that high,” said MHS coach Todd Briley of his team’s seed. “I was hoping to be in the Top 10 so I am really pleased with where we ended up. We’ve got a good little bracket, but it’s going to be tough.”

That bracket starts with Shongaloo, which is 12-18 overall during the regular season and 1-5 in District 1-B play.

“I think we have a good chance against them if we can bother them with our pressure,” said Briley. “They have two real good players, but from what I hear they don’t have a lot of depth and they are a little shaky with the ball. So I’m hoping that our pressure defensively can rattle them.”

Midland enters the contest having won six of their last seven games. However, the Rebels have been idle since Feb. 10 when they defeated Grand Lake in both teams’ regular-season finale.

“We finished up strong in the district,” said Briley, whose squad went 7-1 in league play. “I find we improved throughout the season and in district; we played some pretty good basketball. I just hope this long layoff doesn’t hurt us. “

Briley said the Rebels have had good practices over the last two weeks, during which time they have worked hard and spent much time on conditioning.

“You want to be in really good shape, especially in the playoffs because some of these games come down to being able to make a shot or a free throw at the end and that’s hard to do if you’re fatigued,” said Briley.

“That’s all you can really do. You review everything and hope the stuff you’ve been doing since the spring and the offseason leading up to this point has prepared you.”

McManus at NCS

Northside Christian has enjoyed one of its most successful regular seasons in recent history and the Warriors were rewarded with the No. 5 seed in Class C when the playoff brackets were released earlier in the week.

“We’ve performed well all year, especially paying attention to the details when it comes to scouting reports and doing the things well that I know we’re capable of doing,” said coach Bryron Starks, whose team won their last eight games of the regular season. “These last eight games or so, we’ve had some unbelievable results.

The Warriors (20-7), champions of District 7-C, will now being their postseason trek tonight with a home contest against No. 28 seed Bishop McManus at 7.

“Going into the playoffs, our focus is us and my theme is ‘Trust in our prepartation,’ ” said Starks. “Bishop McManus is probably not the toughest team that we’ve played on our schedule this year. It’s just a matter of us going out there and competing and playing hard.”

McManus has struggled for most of the season and owns just four victories over teams with a combined five wins - district opponents Grand Isle and Holy Rosary. Their other victories were two-game sweeps of Patrick Taylor (2-22) and Gables (1-13).

Northside and McManus have three common opponents in Assembly Christian, Madison Academy and ESA.

The Warriors defeated ACS twice, crushed Madison, 71-36, and split with ESA. McManus lost to all three teams, including a 72-43 loss to Madison.

“McManus does have two kids that are pretty decent players for them,” said Starks. “They have good size and they both drive to the basket well. We’ll have to focus on them and also the other guards and stop penetration on them.

“They’re a pretty scrappy bunch from the scouting reports that I’ve received. We’re just going to have to get out there and play hard.

“I know the kids are hungry and they’re excited about the opportunity. Our goal is to focus on the task at hand and trust in our preparation.”

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