Boys basketball coaches had a couple of anxious hours while the Louisiana High School Athletic Association delayed the release of the playoff pairings.
Ultimately, most Baton Rouge teams got what they expected when the pairings were released just after 4 p.m. Monday, a little more than three hours after their scheduled release time.
Assistant Executive Director Ronda Richardson said technical issues forced the LHSAA to give schools extra time to dispute final power ratings, based on what was posted on its members-only site.
Two-time defending state champion Scotlandville (32-1) claimed the No. 1 seed in Class 5A for the second time in three years and faces John Ehret in Friday’s opening round.
The Hornets were the only local team to grab a top seed. University High in 3A, The Dunham School in 2A and Madison Prep in 1A also garnered No. 3 seeds. Belaire was the only local school to notch a No. 32 seed. The Bengals travel to New Orleans to play 4A’s No. 1 Landry-Walker.
“My guys really don’t get into what’s in the paper or on the Internet that much,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said. “They just want to play and we’ve reminded them a No. 1 can lose to a No. 32 and there are no guarantees.
“I do believe this group still has a chip on their shoulder because people doubted them and what they are capable of. I don’t think they’ll be satisfied until they reach their goals. They’re motivated.”
John Curtis (3A), Riverside Academy (2A), Arcadia (1A), Florien (B) and Elizabeth (C) drew the other No. 1 seeds.
The coin flip that gave University High the top spot in the three-way District 7-3A tie was crucial, according to coach Joe Spencer, but some questions did remain.
“For us securing the No. 1 spot, and the power point you got to go with it, was big,” Spencer said. “I figured if either us or Port Allen got it, we’d end up in the top three and that’s what you want because it gives you the best chance to play three games at home before the state tournament.”
The Cubs (25-7) drew No. 30 Caldwell Parish (20-8), though Spencer said at one point in the Monday seeding process it looked like UHS might draw Ville Platte instead.
“Caldwell was who we started out with and that wound up being who we got, but for a while they (LHSAA) had Ville Platte in that spot. We’ll be trying to find out more about them now. Along with that, we’re focusing on the things we need to improve on like defense and rebounding.”
Dunham coach Jonathan Pixley faced a different dilemma. The Tigers (27-4) ultimately drew District 6-2A rival Northeast. When the LHSAA brackets shifted during the afternoon, there was a brief change that had another 6-2A team, Istrouma, in that No. 30 spot.
“What’s tough for us is drawing a team from our district,” Pixley said. “Either way it would have gone, we’d have gotten a team from our district. The good thing is we know them (Northeast) very well, but they also know us too. Sometimes, it’s easier to prepare for someone you don’t know.”
For Madison Prep (19-8), any drama associated with the 1A pairings ended Friday night. That’s when the Chargers beat 3A Amite, while Metairie Park Country Day lost to 3A Curtis.
“Going into Friday, us and Country Day were right there together in the power ratings,” MPA coach Jeffery Jones said. “We needed that win to be a No. 3 seed. Country Day went to No. 4. After that, we looked to see where (District 6-1A rival) Christian Life (a No. 5 seed) ended up.”
Madison Prep will host Merryville in its 1A bidistrict game. Meanwhile in Class 4A, Tara (21-9) garnered the highest seed among local teams at No. 9 and will host No. 24 Beau Chene.
First-year THS coach Marqus Mitchell took a less analytical look at the seeding process.
“It’s a whole lot different looking at all this as a head coach than it was me for when I was an assistant,” Mitchell said. “It’s new to me. We played a lot of the top teams during the season and I think we’re prepared. More than anything, I’m glad we’re in and playing at home.”