State title on the line
Juanice Gray | Editor
Lakeview Lady Gators finished the season in the number two spot in Class 2A and enter the LHSAA playoff brackets facing the number 31 team, Pickering.
Marsh Madness kicks off Feb. 28 and concludes March 5 at the University Center in Hammond for LHS and NCHS and in Alario Center, Westwego, Feb. 25-26 for St. Mary’s. The top teams in each division will earn the state championship trophy and bragging rights.
Natchitoches Parish has seen some great action on the hard court, and has three teams in the top five going into the playoffs. Lakeview boys and girls and Natchitoches Central Chiefs all had remarkable seasons that put them in good standing as they face off against the best teams in the state.
The ladies brackets were released Monday, Feb. 14 and the boy’s brackets will be released Monday, Feb. 21.
Lakeview faces Pickering Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. in the Swamp. They are in the lower half of the brackets that pitts Rayville, Northeast, Doyle, Avoyelles, Franklin, Oakdale, Kinder, Many, Rosepine, Delcambre, French Settlement, Mangham, Ferriday and Port Allen.
Many, at number 27, is the only team on the list that the Lady Gators faced in regular season action, both match ups ending with the Lakeview ladies in the victory column. Their only other regular season opponent is number 13 Winnfield and they are in the top half of the brackets, putting a rematch with them in the semifinals at best.
NCHS Lady Chiefs finished the regular season at number 32 and drew the toughest opponent of the bi-district brackets, number 1 Walker, whom also has the home court advantage. They will play in Walker at 9677 Florida Blvd., Feb. 17 at 6 p.m.
Class 5A is a beast with powerhouse teams, however heart is not always measured on the scoreboard. Underdog teams have written their own Cinderella stories in the past and this may be the year for the Lady Chiefs to take pen in hand.
They are in top half of the brackets filled with opponents such as Airline, HL Bourgeois, West Monroe, Hahnville, St. Amant, Dutchtown, Ruston, Woodlawn-BR, Benton, West Ouachita, West Jeferson, Haughton, Ponchatoula and Sam Houston. Their only regular season opponent was Haughton, and NCHS fell to the number 20 team both times.
The Division IV brackets are ride or die. St. Mary’s Lady Tigers enter the fray at number 13 and will face number 4 Highland Baptist, who will have the home court advantage, at 7 p.m. Feb. 16. Grouped in their half of the bracket are number one Ouachita Christian, St. Edmund, Sacred Heart, Vermilion Catholic, Southern Lab and Metairie Park Country Day, none of whom the Lady Tigers faced in regular season play.
The ladies of the parish have tough opponents and regardless of where they start the playoffs, teamwork, heart and determination can take any one of them, or all, to the finals.