Considering how much Bossier focuses on playing hard together defensively, it should come as no surprise a deep, diverse group of scorers contribute on offense.
Even when opponents have found a way to slow down leading scorer Larry Robinson III or contain forward Antonio Davis, other Bearkats always seem to rise to the occasion. They’re perfectly capable of hitting 3-pointers, but more often they prefer to attack the basket or find ways to get the ball into the post.
“I think we’ve done a good job of mixing it up,” coach Jeremiah Williams said. “We’ve kind of scaled back on our 3-point shooting a little bit to have a conscious effort of getting paint touches and our guys have locked in and started to get in there a little bit.”
Even before the postseason began, Bossier saw significant improvements on the offensive end. It averaged fewer than 54 points per game before district play, compared to nearly 60 in the games since against plenty of top competition.
The Bearkats put up those numbers even with Davis out due to a sprained wrist for a short stretch, thanks in part to the emergence of senior Chris Davenport. He doesn’t have Davis’ bulk or strength inside, but the 6-foot-6 senior provides a great complement with his length, athleticism and ability to finish in transition.
“I can feed off of (Davis) and he can feed off of me,” Davenport said. “I know (when we’re) getting him the ball I just know we’re going to make something happen.”
Robinson looked like Bossier’s most consistent scorer for most of the season with his 14 points per game, but he’s gotten plenty of help on the perimeter lately from Tyrese English. Williams credited assistant coach Nick Bohanan for tweaking the senior guard’s jump shot, and he’s averaging better than 19 points per game in the playoffs after scoring less than seven per game during the regular season.
Freshman guard Jacoby Decker’s quickness gives the Bearkats another spark off the bench to go along with senior Quatavious Capers. He’s most effective on the other end, where he follows the example of defensive leader Travis Manning.
“Every time it’s come down to a big shot or a last defensive stop coach looks at me and I’ll be like, coach, I’m ready,” Capers said. “I’ll just be ready and just play defense. That’s all I want to do.”
He saw limited action the last time Bossier played a semifinal game two years ago, a 71-49 loss to University Lab. Last season snapped a six-year streak of Top 28 appearances, and Williams said his team will be hungrier than ever.
But St. Thomas More presents a difficult challenge with its size and physicality, and it brings a nine-game win streak to Lake Charles. The Bossier coaches saw the Cougars play twice this season, and they also have plenty of experience with three Top 28 appearances in the last four years, including a state title in 2013.
After four years in 3A, the Bearkats have extended their 4A playoff win streak to eight games, including the 2011 state championship over Peabody. Williams and his players made it clear their ultimate goal always remains the same.
“We want to go down there and we want to win,” Williams said. “So we’re trying to stay focused and enjoy everything, but at the same time with the understanding that we’re going down there intent on being a state champion.”