When the 2017 LHSAA Boys’ Playoff Brackets were released more than a week ago, Fair Park coach Eddie Hamilton figured a trip to March Madness in Lake Charles would come down to his Indians against Woodlawn.
The rubber match between the two District 1-4A rivals and crosstown competitors will happen at 7 p.m. Friday night in the Knights’ gym. The winner gets a big prize, a rarity for these two schools.
“I definitely saw it coming, and I drove four hours by myself to watch Abbeville and Westgate play to get a feel for what potentially could be a match-up down the line. But after Westgate won, we knew we might see Woodlawn if both contintued to advance,” Hamilton said. “We know it’ll be a battle, but we have the utmost respect for coach (Kenny) Sykes and the way he’s built that program over there.”
Except for the usual bumps and bruises, both the Indians (28-7) and Knights (27-5) are good to go. Woodlawn won 67-51 in the Thanksgiving Classic, while Fair Park won 67-60 in the only district meeting between the two clubs.
“All the kids know each other from playing together on middle school teams or from AAU,” Hamilton said. “We have five seniors and they know what’s at stake.”
Sykes was spiffing up the gym late Thursday night in preparation for what will likely be a standing room only crowd.
“You only live once and this is what our guys have been looking for – a chance to get back to the state tournament,” Sykes said. “It’s the playoffs, so it’ll come down to who wants to go to Lake Charles the most.”
Woodlawn’s last state title came in 1981 when recently retired Shreveport police chief Willie Shaw was on the team.
In the other local battle, No. 2 Bossier (26-6), the defending Class 4A state champion will entertain No. 7 Ellender (24-11) at 7 p.m. The Bearkats are fresh off a thrilling 53-46 victory over Northside.
“They play fast man,” Bossier coach Jeremiah Williams said. “We’re gonna have to really play great transition defense and not give up easy baskets. We’ll have to really have a great defensive effort both individually and collectively. Oh yeah, and make some shots.”
Bossier was led by Jacoby Decker and Tybo Wimberly with 21 and 19 points respectively on Tuesday.
GIRLS PLAYOFFS IN HAMMOND
Destrehan 77, Natchitoches Central 46: At the University Center, the Lady Chiefs saw their season come to a close in the Class 5A semifinals for a second consecutive season.
Florien 62, Holden 58: At the University Center, after Monday’s semifinal win the Lady Cats will play for the LHSAA Class B state title against Anacoco at 2 p.m. Friday.
Summerfield 46, Atlanta 39: With a solid win in the semifinals earlier this week, Summerfield will meet No. 1 Plainview for the Class C state title at 10 a.m. Friday.