No longer is football the only dominant sport in District 5-3A.
When it comes to basketball, the league is also developing a solid reputation, says Port Barre boys’ basketball coach Andy Aymond.
Aymond’s Red Devils are the defending boys’ champion in 5-3A, which begins intra-league play Tuesday night.
That title will be challenged by a number of candidates, said Aymond.
“Right now looking at our district, I think Ville Platte and Pine Prairie would be the two teams to beat.
“Ville Platte is playing real well right now. They shoot real well and they are extremely quick.
“Then if you look closely at Pine Prairie, they are a very solid team. They play a tight man-to-man. They are very well coached and they can get after it,” said Aymond.
Aymond said the other teams in the district can’t be omitted.
“Church Point has really improved since last season and Northwest is a very scrappy team,” Aymond said.
One team that is a pre-district puzzle is Livonia, said Aymond.
Livonia won the Class 3A state football championship and Aymond said the Wildcats have been bothered somewhat by a late start to their basketball season.
“I would have to say that Livonia is the unknown. They (Livonia) have the potential to be good, because they have all those kids from Pointe Coupee Central. There are a number of good athletes from Pointe Coupee Central that I saw during football season,” Aymond said.
So what about Aymond’s own team?
Port Barre has altered its personality this year, going from a zone team to one that has adopted an up-tempo attitude offensively and defensively.
The Devils don’t begin their district schedule until Friday, when Port Barre plays at Ville Platte.
“I think we have an opportunity to do well again this season. Right now we are fortunate to have a 10-day layoff between the last game and when we open district (on Friday).
Port Barre last played Jan. 6 when the Devils won at North Vermilion (39-29).
“We’ve had some injuries all season to some of our key players and we are taking care of getting those players healthy,” Aymond said.
Two of those players, guard Keshawn Fontenot and 6-foot-5 forward Tyler Ledoux, are just returning from football injuries, said Aymond.
Port Barre has established a 12-9 non-district record, while Ville Platte is 10-8. The Bulldogs finished third in the Northwest High Holiday Tournament and third in the Opelousas High-hosted Arthur Prudhomme tournament.
Pine Prairie enters district with the best record (17-4). Northwest is 3-13, while Livonia is 2-14. Church Point is 5-7.
DISTRICT 5-3A GIRLS
Girls’ teams in the district began league play Friday night.
Ville Platte’s girls won the 5-3A girls title last year and the Bulldogs are expected to claim a second consecutive crown.
The Bulldogs have the best overall record in the league (18-4) and have won four straight including Friday’s 5-3A opener over Church Point (52-44).
Livonia, Northwest and Port Barre are distinct challengers.
The Wildcats are 13-5 overall and began 3-5A win a 68-42 win over Pine Prairie, which has lost 10 straight.
Port Barre is 11-6, while Northwest is 9-7. The Raiders defeated PBHS on Friday night 47-36.
Beau Chene at Opelousas (boys and girls)
Jeanerette at Opelousas Catholic (boys and girls)
Pine Prairie at Port Barre (girls)
Northwest at Ville Platte (boys and girls)
Earth at Westminster (boys)
Academy of The Sacred Heart at Westminster (girls)
North Central at St. Edmund (boys and girls)