It’s playoff time!! Let the quest (and anguish) begin

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association released playoff pairings for the boys basketball championships Monday. It means the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat that Jim McKay spouted about is close behind.

That’s right. The hopes and dreams of young men and their coaches from 14 local schools winning a state title will either be fed into a frenzy or beaten to a pulp. It just depends on how the ball bounces.

While 14 schools participating is a good number, the truth is only a handful have a legitimate shot for a run in the 2022 playoffs. So here is the good, the bad, and the ugly of what I think will happen on the road to Marsh Madness.

Legit title contenders (Bossier, Captain Shreve, & Calvary Baptist)

Bossier, Captain Shreve, and Calvary Baptist can win it all. The Bearkats are the 3A No. 2 seed and will host district foe Green Oaks in round one. Their road may include three Monroe schools in Richwood, Carroll, and Wossman, with the latter coming in Lake Charles. However, I do not think Coach Bohanan and his troops would have it any other way. I see them playing Madison Prep for the 3A title.

Captain Shreve has a real chance to play for a 5A championship. The Gators are long, athletic, and play probably the best defense of any Caddo-Bossier team. They might be the only opponent that Zachary has not played that will give the Broncos fits defensively.

Two-time Division IV state runner-up Calvary has been down this road before. To avoid a third runner-up finish, 6-7 senior forward Labree Williams will have to be dominant in every round. Country Day, Southern Lab and Hamilton Christian stand in their way. Considering Calvary has the most experience of that group, I think the third time is a charm for the Cavs.

Teams making a run (Huntington, Woodlawn, & Evangel)

1-4A champion Huntington has a tough road ahead. The possibility of facing Washington-Marion, Northside, or Beau Chene before even making it to Lake Charles is daunting. The Raiders’ reward may be a chance to play Carver at full strength with a title-game trip on the line. If it happens, that game will be a must watch.

Woodlawn will have a road of ghosts from playoffs past to face. Livonia will be the Knights’ first matchup, with Neville and defending 4A champ McMain looming in the quarters.

Evangel may have the shortest toughest playoff road in Division II. A regional round win may give them a matchup with Archbishop Hannan on the road. To face University Lab in Lake Charles, the Eagles’ guards, especially Lance Waddles, will have to play very well.

These teams have a chance (Southwood, BTW, & Airline)

Southwood can cause so many problems with Jeremiah Evans and Rodrick Brown clogging the paint. If the Cowboys recapture the magic from their six-game winning streak, they can make a legit run. If not, their dreams will die in the bi-district round to West Monroe.

Airline has the toughest route, on the road to Mandeville. A win there will more than likely bring No. 1 Zachary to Viking Drive. While I have supreme confidence in Eddie Hamilton and his coaching skills, his game plan might not be enough.

The BTW Lions will face Breaux Bridge at home in round one. A win gives them a return trip to No. 3 McMain. While they will be more prepared, I think they will meet the same unfortunate fate as last year.

Thanks for participating

Green Oaks travels to Bossier while Northwood, North Caddo, Loyola Prep and Byrd all have to make a long trip down south to play higher seeds, teams that made it to Marsh Madness. North Caddo has the best chance to win a game. However, I think they will all be one-and-done.

The thrill of victory (the Quest) and the agony of defeat (the Anguish) will begin for all local schools on Friday. Let’s hope there are more thrills than agony, for their sakes.