Can we all agree that this is simply insanity on steroids?
The upcoming basketball playoffs are offering up some wacky situations and the Calvary Lady Cavs are the poster children for the insanity that would have sent Nurse Ratched into her own Cuckoo’s Nest.
First-year head coach Rhonda Martin has a team that finished the regular season 1-20 overall — actually, 2-20 but the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, which allowed this kerfuffle, doesn’t recognize out-of-state wins or losses.
Because Martin’s young team didn’t fare well in or out of District 1-2A this winter, she assumed there wouldn’t be a postseason for her Lady Cavs. Makes sense to most of us who follow sports. But welcome to the new LHSAA where everyone has a chance to become a champ. Whether that’s a good or bad thing remains to be seen.
“Our (athletic director) told me last Friday that based on what he saw in the power ratings, we might be in the playoffs. But I thought he was just kidding,” Martin told The Times. “Clearly he wasn’t kidding.”
The Lady Cavs drew the No. 19 seed in LHSAA Division III and found themselves saddled with a first-round contest Thursday night against No. 14 Haynes Academy in New Orleans.
After the initial shock wore off, Martin discovered that fielding a team for the long road trip was going to be the challenge of her young career. She only had nine players to begin with and her three juniors are on a junior trip to Washington D.C. She has another three players who are committed to softball and they have a game scheduled Thursday. That left Martin with a couple of freshmen and an eighth grader for the playoff game.
“I tried to get their coach to move the game to Friday night, because the juniors would be back and softball doesn’t have a game. But he has an assistant coach who helps with baseball and they have a game Friday,” Martin said. “Plus, they have three girls involved in a Mardi Gras parade Friday who wouldn’t be able to play.”
As it turns out, Calvary has a pretty decent middle school team, so 10 of those eighth graders will get their baptism into varsity action in a state playoff game on the road in a hostile environment. No one on the team is old enough to have a learner’s permit and they think Taylor Swift is an elder statesman of the music industry.
“That will be my team – and they’re actually pretty excited about the opportunity,” Martin chuckled. “But my varsity is upset because they can’t go. They’re praying that the babies can pull off a win so they can play again.”
The team will be led by freshmen Payton Bordelon and Kailey Brookshire, along with veteran eighth grader Addison Martin.
Calvary could have opted out of the playoffs, if they had declared their intentions before the bracket was released. They didn’t do that because they didn’t figure on playing. And they could have paid a $1,000 fine, forfeited the game and stayed home. That’s what Division IV bracketeer Ascension Catholic (0-13) opted to do, according to the LHSAA. The more insane note in the situation is that three teams were seeded lower than Calvary in D-III, including Runnels, which is 0-17 on the season and opens at Riverside Academy Thursday. St. Martin’s Episcopal (0-15) and Hamilton Christian (0-27) also advanced to the postseason and are apparently playing.
Calvary athletic director Rodney Guin said taking a forfeit wasn’t an option.
“I think they should’ve gone with a 16-team bracket instead of a 32-team bracket, but since we’re on the bracket, we’re gonna line up and go play,” Guin said.
So, the Calvary administration has chartered a bus, since their transportation isn’t dependable for making the long trip, and the team is heading down at 8 a.m. Thursday morning. To save on housing a bunch of student-athletes in a New Orleans’ nursery, they’ll return immediately following the game.
“The cost won’t be too much, financially, and they’ll get a little gate money,” Guin philosophized.
And the bonding experience might serve the Lady Cavs down the line.