After seeing the power rankings altered at the annual Louisiana High School Athletic Association Convention in January, which ruffled the feathers of many people around the state, determining how great of an effect it would have on teams across the state had been quite a challenge.
In the end, some were helped, many were hurt and the rest weren’t affected at all.
But the concerns can now be put to rest, as the LHSAA released the prep girls basketball playoff brackets for all seven classes on Monday and once again the area is well-represented with 30 teams earning postseason bids.
“I just thank God that we are in the playoffs,” Northwest Lady Raiders head coach Latosha Malone said. “There are some people who are going to be at home when the playoffs start, but we got in. So, I’m happy about that.”
Malone’s approach to the way the system was altered and the releasing of the brackets is one that was echoed by many area coaches, who refused to focus on something that was out of their control.
“It is what it is,” said Breaux Bridge Lady Tigers head coach Chana Jordan, whose team beat St. Thomas More twice and won the district championship but still ended up ranked lower than the Lady Cougars in the brackets. “We knew that the new calculations for the power rankings was going to drop us further than we expected, but it doesn’t matter now. To be the best, you have to beat the best.”
North Central, VC are area’s highest seeded teams
The North Central Lady Canes, who have been one of the most dominant teams in the state all year, earned the area’s lone No. 1-seed as they received the top spot in Class 1A, while the Vermilion Catholic Lady Eagles received the No. 2-seed in the same class.
“We are excited about receiving the No. 1-seed,” Lady Canes head coach Vanessa Taylor said. “Before the season, we had our goals set to win the parish tournament, win our district and make it to the playoffs. We didn’t focus on being the No. 1-seed. We just wanted to play hard and accomplish as much as we could.”
“The No. 2-seed is nice for the kids,” Lady Eagles head coach Kim Guidry said. “We are very excited. The kids have worked hard all season, so it is good to see all of their hard work pay off.”
The Lady Canes, who will play host to No. 32-seed Grambling at 6 p.m. on Thursday, are hoping to win the school’s first ever state championship after falling short as the state runner-up last season.
“We know that there is pressure that comes with being the No. 1-seed,” Taylor said. “I like the path that we have to take to get back to the Top 28. But we aren’t coming out like we are the No. 1-seed. Our goal is to come out like we are the No. 32-seed and try to get back.”
VC, who will play host to No. 31-seed Logansport at 6 p.m. on Thursday, are fully aware that a team’s ranking entering the postseason means very little once the ball is tossed up.
“We’re the No. 2-seed, but we still have to show up and play,” Guidry said. “We can’t overlook anyone, so our focus is on Logansport and not our seed.”
The Lady Canes and the Lady Eagles are joined in the Class 1A brackets by No. 12-seed Gueydan, who will play host to No. 21-Mongtomery, No. 20-seed Lafayette Christian, who will travel to face No. 13-seed Houma Christian and No. 26-seed Ascension Episcopal, who will travel to face No. 7-seed St. Mary’s,
Lady Bears earn higher seed in Class 5A than last year
What a difference a year makes. One year ago, the Carencro Lady Bears received a No. 25 seed en route to being defeated by Southwood in the first round. But this year, the Lady Bears made great strides on the floor and not only found themselves more competitive, but more successful en route to earning a No. 12 seed and a home game against Zachary.
“Everything changed with the new power rankings, but we weren’t hurt by it at all,” Lady Bears head coach Keesha Sices said. “We’re first of all just grateful to be on the bracket and the fact that we improved enough from last year to host a first round playoff game instead of having to go on the road.”
The Lady Bears, who will face Zachary at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, will enter the contest with very little information on their opponent.
“We haven’t seen Zachary play, so we are kind of going into this game blind,” Sices said. “We’re hoping the cards are stacked in our favor and that we can come out on top.”
In addition to the Lady Bears, New Iberia, Lafayette High and Acadiana all earned bids into the Class 5A playoffs. The Yellow Jackets, who received a No. 11 seed, will play host to No. 22 seed Ruston, the No. 19-seeded Lady Lions will travel to face Ouachita Parish and the No. 23-seeded Lady Rams will travel to face No. 10-seeded Helen Cox at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Class 4A features five area teams
Although they admit they are disappointed to see where they were seeded after accomplishing so much this season, the Lady Tigers are happy with where they landed on the bracket and the path they’ll have to take in order to reach the Ladies’ Top 28.
“We expected to be a higher seed than we are, but it’s OK,” Jordan said. “We’re not scared to play anyone. We like the path that we have. No matter where you are in the bracket, you still have to play three games to get to the big dance. Yes, we thought we would be higher, but you have to start somewhere.”
Class 4A features Rayne earning a No. 7 seed and playing host to No. 26 Ursuline and with a win will play the winner of St. Thomas More, who will play host to Beau Chene at 6 p.m. on Thursday, with a trip to the quarterfinals on the line.
“We fell further than we expected, but we are pleased with our draw,” Lady Cougars head coach Stephen Strojny said. “We feel like we got the luck of the draw. I feel we got a really good draw. Nothing against the teams we have to play in the first round or could play in the second round, but we have already played Beau Chene and Rayne and we have seen Ursuline. So, I really do like our draw.”
The Northside Lady Vikings, who finished third in District 5-4A, earned a No. 14 seed and will play host to No. 19 Huntington. With a win, the Lady Vikings could potentially face No. 3-seed Edna Karr in the second round. Teurlings Catholic snuck into the postseason with a No. 32 seed, but have the toughest draw of any area team regardless of class as they will travel to face No. 1 seed Warren Easton.
“No matter where you are placed in the bracket, you a re going to have to face Salmen, Warren Easton or Karr, who are all juggernauts in the quarterfinals,” Strojny said. “So, I don’t put a whole lot of merit into where you are ranked because you are going to have to play those teams at some point anyway. After Thursday, there are going to be 16 teams left and I just hope we are one of them.”
Northwest, Notre Dame ready to play in Class 3A
Like many around the state, Malone isn’t happy with their seed, draw or position in the Class 3A brackets. Nevertheless, she and the Lady Raiders are just happy to have the speculation and overall confusion regarding the power rankings behind them.
“I’m just glad it is all over with,” Malone said. “We know where we are going to play and who we are going to play against, so there is no more guessing.”
Malone believes the Lady Raiders received a tough draw in the brackets as they will travel to face Iowa in the first round and if they are successful, they will have to face University Lab.
“I don’t like our draw,” Malone said. “I don’t like our draw at all. I mean we are on the same side of the bracket with University. Who wants to be on that side? Who likes those odds? If we win our first round game, we have to play University in the second round. I’m not saying I don’t want to play them, but I don’t want to play them that early.”
The No. 11-seeded Lady Pios on the other hand are pleased with their seed, but head coach Nolan Theriot wishes he could face someone other than district foe Erath, who received a 22-seed, in the first round.
“I thought we were going to be somewhere like 10, 11 or 12,” Theriot said. “I didn’t spend a whole lot of time figuring it out because there isn’t much difference between being 10 or 12. I’m not a big fan of voting to change things in the middle of the season – even though it helped us – but it is what it is.
“I don’t have a problem with where we are seeded, I just wish we weren’t playing Erath,” Theriot said. “It’s tough to play someone three times in a season, but I also would like for us both to have the opportunity to move onto the second round, but obviously with us playing against each other that won’t happen.”
Class 3A features more area teams on the bracket than any other bracket with a total of seven schools earning postseason bids. In addition to Northwest, Notre Dame and Erath, other area teams include No. 15-seed Iota, No. 19 -seed North Vermilion, No. 20-seed Port Barre and No. 31-seed Abbeville.