After years of packing fans into the stands at high school-based facilities, the Coca-Cola/Bob Petit/East Baton Rouge Parish Tournament is moving to a larger facility — Southern University’s F.G. Clark Activity Center.
The annual boys basketball tournament is being hosted by Scotlandville High at SU and begins Wednesday with six games starting at noon.
“I think this really is the best thing for the tournament,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said. “The teams get a chance to play in a college facility, and the fans who come will be able to watch the games comfortably.
“Before you’ve had people trying to squeeze into the stands for the games. And the last thing you want to do is turn people away. Now, that won’t happen. And you won’t have issues with parking, either.”
Scotlandville started pondering its options a year ago when fans packed the new Zachary High gymnasium that is significantly larger than other gyms at EBR schools. The final plan to move the tournament to SU was completed earlier this week, Sample said.
Southern’s Clark Center seats 7,800 fans, and its court was refurbished last summer. It larger end zones will be a plus for teams who aspire to advance to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Top 28 tournament that will be held at college-based sites around the state.
Scotlandville, last year’s Class 5A state champion and a state finalist for three consecutive years, is the top seed for the tourney. A year ago, Sample’s Hornets (12-2) defeated Southern Lab 61-49 in the EBR title game.
Istrouma (11-4) is the No. 2 seed. Both teams draw first-round byes and won’t play until Thursday.
Third-seeded Zachary and No. 4 Tara are the highest seeds set to play on the first day of the tourney. Tara faces Broadmoor at 6 p.m., followed by Capitol vs. Zachary at 7:30 p.m.
The four-day event concludes Saturday with a 7:30 p.m. title game.
Doise nets milestone
Hosanna Christian Academy honored girls basketball Pat Doise for his 200th career win in a big way last week.
Doise, who is in his 11th season, picked up his milestone win on the road. The school organized a banquet at the school in conjuction with its Dec. 11 home game with East Iberville. In addition to the banquet that was attended by former players, Doise was given a comemorative game ball. He has a record of 200-145 at the Class B school.
“To say I was surprised would be a mild way to put it,” Doise said. “People give game balls to players and coaches all the time, but having the banquet just floored me.
“I have to say my favorite part of it was being able to see all the former players who came back. That meant so much.”
In addition to HCA basketball players, Doise said former athletes he worked with during his days as a volunteer at Cornerstone Academy also attended the event.
The event was organized by Hosanna Administrator Josh LeSage and included messages from each other Doise’s sons. One son, Eric, teaches English at a university in China and recorded his message.