Airline coach Chris White already had six district titles at Bossier Parish schools before Tuesday night’s seventh was obtained one playing date early with a rumbling 64-55 victory over Byrd in the Vikings’ gym.
But White had never had an ice bath on a basketball court until his players doused him with a small bucket on the far end line moments following the final buzzer. White smiled, knocked the ice off his head, then headed for his office with an order.
“Someone better get out there and mop that up,” White said without malice. “We’ve got another game here Friday night.”
That game with Southwood was rendered relatively meaningless after Trent Ivy refused to let the Jackets skip out of north Bossier with the victory. The junior was solid down the stretch with 7 points, plus a critical assist to Kaeon Chapple with 42 seconds remaining to keep the visitors at bay. He finished with 22 points on the night, backed up by K.J. Bilbo’s 16.
“It feels good to have played hard as a team and to get the W,” Ivy said. “(At the end) I was just driving to the basket to get the double bonus.”
The Vikings (22-6, 9-1) gave White his fourth title as a Viking. He picked up three others while at Bossier High.
“But this is our first one in five years,” White said. “The last few years have been tough.”
Despite winning the league, Airline will likely have to travel when the LHSAA playoffs open in a week or so. The Vikings are currently No. 21 in Class 5A, the highest of the district teams in non-select. Byrd is the eighth seed and Evangel ninth in select’s Division I.
“We don’t really care whether we play someone in Lake Charles or New Orleans,” White said. “We just want to go play. Hopefully we’ll move up some after this week.”
This one was in doubt in the final quarter when the Jackets overcame a 15-point, second-half deficit with a 14-4 run to open the frame, tying the game at 52 with about 3 minutes to play.
Buckets by Anthony Durgin and Ivy stopped the run, but with Phillip Stewart running the lane for 29 points, Byrd got within 57-55 on Stewart’s layup with a minute to play. The Jackets didn’t score again, however, and Ivy and T.J. Robinson made 5-of-6 freebies to close the deal.
“This one was really sweet,” White said. “And I’m glad we got it tonight to take the pressure off Friday night, which is senior night. These guys really worked their tails off to get to this point.”