Ville Platte High’s Trinity Leday (5) floats a ball toward the goal in a game played earlier this season. The Lady Bulldogs hit the road tonight to battle the Rayville Lady Hornets in the Class 3A playoffs. Ville Platte finished the regular season as the District 6-2A runner-up and hold the No. 25 seed. (Gazette file photo)
At this time of the year, all any high school basketball team wishes for is some extra time on the floor and some extra bounces with the ball.
Tonight, four of the five Evangeline Parish girl’s basketball teams will get their wish as they head into the LHSAA post-season.
Topping that list is the Pine Prairie Lady Panthers. The No. 15 seeded team in Class 3A, the Lady Panthers, will host the No. 18 seed Richwood Lady Rams out of Monroe. This will be the first time Pine Prairie hosts a home playoff game since 2009. Game time is set for 6 p.m.
After a rough 1-5 start to the season, the Lady Panthers gathered themselves quickly and won the next 11 games in a row. That turn around led to an overall record of 20-11 for the 2018-19 Evangeline Parish champions.
“We played some pretty tough teams at the beginning of the season and it was hard to know how our confidence level would be affected by the shaky start,” stated Pine Prairie head coach Renotta Edwards. “But, the team responded the way I hoped they would and we began to play really well.”
Pine Prairie’s first round opponent, Richwood are winners of their last six games and come into the contest with a season record of 16-13. The Lady Rams are residents of District 2-3A and finished league play at 7-3.
Richwood averages 54 points per game on offense and gives up 55.5 points per game. Pine Prairie, on the other hand, averages 44.6 points per game and only allows 41.8 points per game.
“We are going to have to rely on our defense, like we have all season long,” said Edwards. “They are big, very athletic and shoot the ball well. If we can get pressure on them and create some transition baskets, we will have a chance to pick up a win.”
Another parish team that earned the right to participate in the post-season is the Sacred Heart Lady Trojans. The Lady Trojans come into the Division IV playoffs as the No. 17 seed and must travel 25 minutes south to take on the No. 16 seed St. Ed’s Lady Blue Jays. Game time is set for 6 p.m.
The two teams, who will be district opponents next season, have tangled twice this past campaign, with the clubs splitting the two games. The Lady Trojans lost to the Lady Blue Jays 40-38 in the Sacred Heart Turkey Tournament during the Thanksgiving holidays. Sacred Heart turned around and defeated St. Ed’s 45-40 on the Lady Trojan’s home floor in early December.
“This is going to be a good match-up for both teams,” stated Sacred Heart head coach Josh Harper. “Having played them twice already, we know what to expect from them and they know what to expect from us. The good thing for us is that we do not have to travel far for the first round. That will allow our fans a chance to make the short trip and come out to support us.”
The Lady Trojans have had an up and down year. Sacred Heart began the 2018-19 campaign winning only two of the first seven games.
However, the Lady Trojans showed tremendous growth and improvement as the year developed. Sacred Heart finished up with an overall record of 8-16, but went 5-5 down the stretch in District 5-1A play, including a two game winning streak to end the year.
St. Ed’s, out of District 4-1A, comes into the game with an overall record of 10-17 and a league mark of 4-10. The Lady Jays have lost five of their last six games coming into the post-season.
St. Ed’s averages 42.3 points per game on offense and surrenders 48.2 points per game on defense. Sacred Heart scores 34.9 points per game and yields 40 points per game.
“Our team has made some big strides this year,” said Harper. “I see them gaining more and more confidence each game we play. I just hope we can bring the intensity we have had the last few games with us tonight.”
In Class 2A, the No. 25 seed Ville Platte High Lady Bulldogs will make the longest trip of all the parish girl’s teams as they trek up Highway 165 to face off against the No. 8 seed Rayville Lady Hornets. Rayville, the District 2-2A champions, finished the year with an overall record of 21-12 and a league record of 11-1. Game time is set for 6 p.m.
Meanwhile, Ville Platte played above their expectations this past season. With a very young, but talented squad, the Lady Bulldogs began the year winning five of their first 10 games.
A 1-7 record in the middle of the season gave Ville Platte fans something to worry about. But, the Lady Bulldogs righted the ship down the stretch and finished with an overall record of 11-15 and a 5-3 mark in District 6-2A, earning them the league runner-up spot.
“We have played well at times this year and we have played not so well at times,” commented Ville Platte head coach Dot Doulet. “But, one thing is that we are continuing to learn and get better. We will definitely have to be our best tonight against Rayville. They are very talented, athletic a -team. We will be outsized at every position. If we want to compete against them, we cannot come out intimidated. We must play with confidence.”
Rayville averages 56 points per game and gives up 46.5 points per game. Ville Platte puts up 42.1 points per game and allows 46.3 points per game.
Finally, the No. 21 seed Basile Lady Bearcats (16-15, 5-9) must travel to the No. 12 seed Jonesboro-Hodge (19-9, 9-3) to take on the Lady Tigers. Game time is set for 6 p.m.
Basile’s season was a tale of streaks. The Lady Bearcats won their first six games in a row before falling in five of the their next six contests.
Basile seemed to turn things around, winning five of the next six games. However, once the Lady Bearcats were firmly planted in district play, they lost momentum, going 2-7 to start league play.
Basile gathered themselves enough to finish 3-2 in their final district contests. The Lady Bearcats come into tonight’s game with the Lady Tigers averaging 41 points per game and giving up 38 ppg.