4 BR area teams garner No. 1 seeds

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLANDMadison Prep boys basketball coach Jeffery Jones instruct his team against Glen Oaks at Madison Prep in December. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLANDMadison Prep boys basketball coach Jeffery Jones instruct his team against Glen Oaks at Madison Prep in December.

Until Thursday, the most notable connection between Class 1A Christian Life Academy and Class B Madison Prep was a Hall of Fame game CLA rallied to win late last month.

The two top-ranked boys basketball powers learned they claimed the top playoff seeds in their respective classifications to top a long list of Baton Rouge teams that are playoff bound next week.

Class 2A University and 3A Albany were the Baton Rouge area’s girls basketball teams to claim No. 1 seeds when the Louisiana High School Athletic Association its playoff pairings on Thursday.

But there was drama. A late afternoon change on the 2A girls bracket not only changed the opponent for U-High, it also took another BR team, Runnels, off the bracket.

Girls teams begin their playoffs Monday, while most boys teams are set to play their bidistrict games Tuesday.

“The thing you hope with a No. 1 seed is that you get a good draw,” CLA boys coach Mark Cascio said. “But 1A is pretty deep in terms of the number of quality teams. “The thing I’ve told our guys is they should be proud to have the No. 1 seed because they earned it with a power rating. It was given to them by a vote.”

Cascio’s Crusaders (24-5) host No. 32 Ascension Catholic at 7 p.m. Tuesday. No time has been set for the No. 32 Forest at No. 1 Madison Prep in Class B. No game time has been set.

“I think we played the toughest schedule in the state,” Madison Prep coach Jeffery Jones said. “We’ve played Scotlandville, Christian Life, Northside, Glen Oaks, Parkview and North Central.

“With that said, I really do believe the top five teams in Class B are all talented and capable of winning. But I don’t think we’ll face anything we haven’t seen.”

Meanwhile, UHS girls coach Bonita Johnson made two sets of game plans. The first brackets showed the Cubs (28-6) playing Lakeview. A midafternoon change placed District 7-2A rival Runnels in that spot.

So Johnson set up a game with the Raiders, a team UHS beat last Friday. But late in the afternoon, the bracket had changed again, placing Lakeview at No. 32. LHSAA assistant executive director Rhonda Dreibelbis said confusion involving New Orleans-based Haynes Academy led to the error.

Dreibelbis said Haynes Academy submitted a letter saying its boys basketball did not want to accept a playoff bid. When the LHSAA converted the final power 2A girls ratings to the bracket No. 29, Haynes was omitted. Dreibelbis said Haynes called to point out the mistake after 4 p.m. Thursday.

“The toughest part of this was making the call to Runnels,” Dreibelbis said. “I called Tookie Johnson, their athletic director, and told him he had the right to yell and scream at me and he said he understood and appreciated the phone call. It was a correctable error because it happened when we converted the power ratings to the bracket. I knew we had to the right the thing by Haynes Academy.”

The Lakeview at UHS game is tentatively set for 6 p.m. Monday. Meanwhile, Livingston Parish based Albany, last year’s 3A runner-up, hosts No. 32 Donaldsonville at 7 p.m. Monday.

“Being No. 1 is an accomplishment, but it also comes with responsibilities,” UHS coach Bonita Johnson said. “What it tells me is there’s a job to do, and people expect us to finish.”

Albany (23-8), winner of 18 of its past 19 games, sees the No. 1 seed in a similar light, according to coach Justin Adams.

“Because we started off with such a tough schedule, getting it (No. 1 seed) was a long, hard climb,” Adams said. “I think they (Albany players) see this as something that can help them with the task at hand.”