Remember 1982? The first-ever NCAA champion Lady Techsters do

SHOOTING FOR TWO: On March 28, 1982, Tournament MVP Janice Lawrence (5) and Tech beat Cheyney State (in white) for the sport’s first NCAA title; the Lady Techsters won the AIAW title the year before and finished the back-to-back seasons 69-1.

By TEDDY ALLEN, Journal Columnist

Talking to Louisiana Tech’s Lady Techsters of today is not much different than talking to them 40 years ago, back when they were future Hall of Fame coaches or Kodak All-Americans or practice players or Wade Trophy winners, and the thing each of them had the most of was fun.

Today they might put you on hold to talk to a recruit or tell a husband they’ll be right back or quiet a grandbaby, but then it’s March 28, 1982 again, a Sunday afternoon in The Scope in Norfolk, Va., and they are crisp and cool and full of the energy they had at 18 or 21, happy and young and suited up, maybe even a little smugly satisfied with the assurance of the timelessness of both an unbreakable record and the bond forged from what they became, a bit giddy with the memories of what they did best — win games, and win championships.

One of four teams in the NCAA Women’s Final Four Tournament will do this weekend what they did in 1982’s first week of spring, something no team had ever been done before, something no team can ever do again.

They won the NCAA title.

And they did it before anyone else.

They’d gone 34-0 and won the AIAW championship the year before, beating Tennessee 79-59 in Eugene, Oregon. In ’82 it was 34-1 and a 76-62 win over Cheyney State in what had now become the NCAA Women’s Championship.

“A record that will never be broken: it was exciting from that standpoint,” said shooting guard Angela Turner, who that day scored in double figures for the 125th time in her Kodak All-America career. “There were so many people there…it was televised all over the country … And so many of our fans had traveled to be with us. No matter where we went, there was always somebody from Ruston there.”

“Anything that has the word ‘first’ and ‘national’ in it had to be special,” said Debbie Primeaux Williamson, a back-up guard and now a known-by-everyone, quietly efficient bigwig in administration in the women’s game. “Winning big games and winning a lot was special, but knowing it was the first ever NCAA Championship seemed extra special.”

“I was glad we were playing Cheyney because they loved to press and I knew I’d get in the game early,” said Kim Mulkey, who finished with six points and seven assists — one more than the whole Cheyney team — was voted the game’s outstanding player by the CBS-TV crew, and, while remembering that day, sounded like the game was about to start and she already knew how it would end. “They were gonna press and I knew we could run and I could get an assist or score on the other end of the floor.”

“I still watch a good bit of the game; there’s no question that team could play today,” said Leon Barmore, then associate head coach along with Sonja Hogg, today a Naismith and, as several on that ’82 team members are, a Louisiana Sports Hall of Famer. “You’ve got some great teams and players out there, sure. But Angela, Janice (Lawrence), Pam (Kelly) … they’re all in the Hall of Fame and they didn’t get there by not being good.”

Lawrence had 20 points and was named the tournament’s MVP that day, and Kelly, who rewrote the program’s young record book for points, rebounds, and field goal percentage, would days later be named the season’s Wade Trophy Winner; Lawrence earned it two years later.

(A quick word about Hogg: In the March 29 editions of a local paper, the forward-thinking original Lady Techsters head coach was quoted as saying, “We won’t ever replace Turner and Kelly, but we have to get somebody in a uniform, hopefully somebody with a lot of talent.” This was in the middle of a run of 10 Final Fours and two Elite Eight appearances in 12 years. How’d that work out?)

During a time out as his team huddled with less than two minutes left in the title game, team trainer Sam Wilkinson, now retired in the Ruston area, displayed a T-shirt proclaiming Tech as the 1982 national champs.

“I’d been carrying that thing around in my trainer’s bag for two weeks,” Wilkinson said, laughing at the thought of something he hadn’t recalled in years. “Leon almost fell out.”

“Ol’ Sam, he got on TV pretty quick with that,” Barmore remembered.

Barmore gave lots of credit to “Ol’ Sam” for the championship; he got the team’s other star reserve besides Mulkey, forward Debra Rodman, ready to play in four of the five playoff games after Rodman had sprained an ankle in the regular-season finale. Good thing: Rodman came off the bench against Cheyney to get 14 points and a team-best 11 rebounds in just 24 minutes.

But there was one problem even Sam couldn’t solve. In pregame warmups, Rodman broke a bra strap. Nothing a female friend and a safety pin couldn’t fix, proof that even when the Lady Techsters didn’t let it all hang out, they sort of still did.

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu

Photo courtesy LOUISIANA TECH


Gents pick Dawson to build football program from scratch

SPIRITED START: Centenary introduced former Evangel star player and championship-winning former Eagles’ coach Byron Dawson as head coach of its new football program Wednesday.

By TONY TAGLAVORE, Journal Sports

After years as a football player and coach, Byron Dawson is now an architect and a construction worker.

Wednesday, the former Evangel Christian Academy and LSU defensive lineman — and former Evangel head coach — was given the challenge of building Centenary College’s fledgling football program.

It’s an 18-month project. The Gents’ team is scheduled to begin play in the fall of 2024.

Centenary last teed up a football in 1947, so Dawson will be starting from scratch, mixing mortar and stacking bricks.

“I approach it as a journey,” Dawson told The Journal. “This is an opportunity to lay the groundwork. Whenever you’re in on something (at the beginning), you can make sure the foundation is firm. You can do it the right way. You can get the right people. It’s going to be very important we choose the right people, the right leaders, that we hire a good staff, and just do the little things well.”

Dawson wore Evangel’s red, white and blue colors as a standout player in the mid-to-late 1990’s. The school won three state championships, went undefeated (15-0) in 1997, and Dawson was named the USA Today High School All-American Defensive Most Valuable Player for Louisiana.

At LSU, Dawson was a four-year letterman under head coach Nick Saban. He was part of the Tigers’ nationally-ranked defense during the 2001 season, when LSU won the SEC Championship, then defeated Illinois in the Sugar Bowl.

Dawson returned home to start a 15-year coaching career at Evangel. He was an assistant, a coordinator, and then a head coach. He tutored 10 NFL players, including 2019 first-round NFL Draft pick Jerry Tillery.

“We hired Byron because he’s a local coach,” said Centenary Director of Athletics David Orr. “We know that recruiting in the state, and local region, is extremely important. You need to have that experience in recruiting. You also need to have the experience of the landscape, have the connections, and know the coaches in the area.”

Orr said something else in Dawson’s favor had nothing to do with football.

“You could see his passion—his passion for developing young people into good people. Successful people. Helping them build their tool chest for opportunities after college. That was very important as well.”

Tuesday, The Journal reported Dawson had spoken at length with Centenary officials about the job.

Wednesday, Orr said Dawson was chosen from approximately 100 candidates — candidates with experience at all levels, including the NFL. But for Centenary, there was more to hiring a head coach than reading his resume.

“You have to match the person with what it is we’re doing,” Orr explained. “It would be one thing to hire a coach — any Hall of Fame football coach in the NFL that you want to hire. But it doesn’t mean they will translate to success at a small Division III college. So, fit was extremely important. Not just name, but fit.”

Dawson left Evangel for his first collegiate coaching job. He spent the past two seasons at Tulane University, working with the defensive line. In January, Nola.com reported Dawson would not return to the Green Wave.

When Dawson hits the recruiting trail for Centenary, he will be in search of talented players. But that’s not all.

“I’m looking for high-character guys — guys that are stand-up men in the community,” Dawson said “Guys that come from good families. Guys that love football. That’s important, because football is a tough sport. It’s going to be hot out there. You’re going to be making collisions and running into each other. You’ve got to love it. That’s going to get you through those tough days. So, I’m looking for guys with passion.”

Photo by SHERRY HEFLIN, Centenary


Byrd girls bowling team rolls into today’s state semis

GOING ON STRIKE?: C.E. Byrd’s girls No. 13-ranked bowling team state semifinalists are (Front, L-R) seniors Lola Carlisle, Madilyn McCrary (captain), Olivia Osbon and (Back, L-R) juniors Cathleen Stevens, Jadyn Martin, Kaci Green, Maddisen Rook, Erin Hanson, and Cicely Dawson, pictured at Acadiana Lanes after a 16-11 quarterfinals victory over No. 5 Central Lafourche.

By TEDDY ALLEN, Journal Sports

Momma won’t allow throwing the ball inside.

But if you roll it, that’s OK.

And some female student-athletes at C.E. Byrd High have figured out how to do that awfully well.

Trying to score a “first” for north Louisiana in the LHSAA bowling world, the No. 13-ranked Byrd girls team faces No. 1 Ponchatoula in the state semifinals of the Ochsner LHSAA Bowling Championship at 10:30 a.m. this morning at All Star Lanes in Baton Rouge.

At 1:30 p.m., the winner will face the survivor of the other semifinal between No. 2 Dutchtown and No. 6 Denham Springs.

If Byrd can make it happen, the Lady Jackets will become north Louisiana’s first bowling team champion since the sport became LHSAA-sanctioned in 2005. They are the first north Louisiana team in the semis since Parkway’s boys team in 2010.

“The Lady Jackets are a good team because they are a united team who remain focused, positive, and encouraging each match,” said Paula Rowe, their coach and a teacher of history and government at Byrd. “The girls fiercely protect their team dynamic. No negativity allowed. Of course, they put a lot of work in at practice and on their own time.”

Rowe said the leadership of Madilyn McCrary, four-year varsity bowler and the team’s captain, “has been a fundamental part of our team’s success. At the beginning of the season, we were impacted by COVID-19 and a few injuries. But as the season went on, the girls recovered, and our new bowlers further developed their skills in the game.”

In a Shreveport-Bossier area that proved well balanced, Byrd finished 7-5 and second in district to Loyola College Prep, who lost in Round 2 of the playoffs to St. Amant. Captain Shreve was 5-7 and Airline 4-8; the semi-logjam could have been a reason for Byrd’s lower seed.

Regardless, the Lady Jackets seem to have gotten hot at the right time, mainly because of the back-end of the lineup. Teams get the same amount of points for its No. 1-spot (sixth-best bowler) winning as it does for its No. 6, or best, bowler. It’s a format that favors depth.

“The strength in our playoff victories came from our 1-3 bowlers as much as from our 4-6,” Rowe said.

“McCrary and Kaci Green consistently performed each game in the 2 and 3 spots and won critical points. Erin Hanson came back in game 3 of both (playoff) matches to help secure the win against (No. 4) H.L. Bourgeois (in Round 2) and (No. 5) Central Lafourche (in the quarterfinals). Jadyn Martin, Maddisen Rook, and Cathleen Stevens continued to provide strong pinfall (the number of pins toppled during a match) and impressive scores against strong bowlers from the other teams.”

Stevens and Rook also qualified for Singles State Finals, which will be Friday. Other female student-athletes competing Friday are Paris Mendones and LaBresha Lars (Airline) and Ysabella Griego (Loyola). In the Boys Singles State Finals Friday, area competitors include Chris Kouba (Airline), Caden Hutchinson (Byrd) and Jack Perrett (Benton).

Crescent City Sports of New Orleans is partnering with the LHSAA to live stream the semifinals and finals. The link is http://crescentcitysports.com/live-game-streams/

Coverage begins just prior to the 10:30 a.m. start of the four semifinals, with whip-around coverage of those matches, and continues with the girls championship at 1:30 p.m. and the boys final at 3:30 p.m. CCS’ Ken Trahan and Lenny Vangilder will be joined by Kent Lowe on the broadcast.


State junior golf tour visits Querbes Park this weekend

OFF THE TEE: Local and area high school teams participated in the North Louisiana High School 9-hole tournament Tuesday at Querbes Park.

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

Looking at the upcoming weather forecast, it looks like the next few days will be prime for area junior golfers. If you’re interested in seeing some of the top local players, head out to Querbes Park Golf Course this weekend.

The Louisiana Junior Golf Tour’s tournament will be held Saturday and Sunday. The boys’ 11-13 division tees off at 8 a.m., followed by Overall girls (13-18) at 8:27, and Overall boys’ (13-18) at 8:54.

Top players from all over the state will be in competition, including Shreveport’s Grant Reagan and Xan Walker.

Get your kids in the game

In an effort to make golf more appealing, inclusive, and affordable, the non-profit organization Youth on Course has partnered with the Louisiana Golf Association to deliver opportunities to young people. The purpose is to help kids grow and succeed both on and off the golf course.

Participating courses across the state offer rates of $5 or less at designated times for YOC members. Member benefits include World Handicap System Authorized Handicap Index, LGA member benefits, GHIN mobile app, and access to golf at great rates.

YOC member Querbes Park offers availability anytime during the weekday and after 12 p.m. on weekends with fees of $3 for 9 holes and $5 for 18 holes.

Byrd on top

The Byrd High School boys’ and girls’ golf teams took top honors at Tuesday’s North Louisiana High School 9-hole tournament at Crooked Hollow Golf Course. The girls’ team finished first at 23-over while the boys outdistanced their division opponents with an 8-over score..

Sydney Moss (+3) led the Lady Jackets to the top spot while Peyton Johnson (even) and Grant Reagan (+1) gave Byrd the top two spots in the boys’ division.

Byrd’s girls were followed in the team competition by Minden (+39), Many (+54), and Airline (+58). Airline (+34), Northwood (+45), and Magnet High (+55) rounded out the boys’ class.

The next event for high schoolers will be held on Monday at Northwood Hills Golf Club. Check-in is at 3:00 with a shotgun start at 3:30.

NWLA tennis events springing up

The Northwest Louisiana Community Tennis Association (NWLA CTA) has a number of leagues getting ready to kick off in the area.

Registration opens on Friday for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Local Flex Singles League. Men’s and women’s singles flights include 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5. Cost is $25 for USTA members. The season begins May 9.

If you haven’t signed your team up for the fun Tri-Level League yet, you still have a little time. Registration closes on April 8. The season begins April 25 and ends on June 4. The state tournament will be held Aug. 18-22 in Baton Rouge with sectionals in Louisville, KY., Oct. 15-17. Team matches consist of three individual doubles matches with one match at three different levels. Teams must have a minimum of two players at each level registered on the squad. Divisions include 18&Over, 40&Over, and 55&Over. Participants may play at their NTRP level or one level higher.

The NWLA CTA Mixed 2022 League opens registration on April 16 with local play beginning May 27 and running through Aug. 19. Combo-rated divisions include ages 18+, 40+, and 55+. Teams include three men and three women with appropriate combo ratings. For information, contact tammieharris@gmail.com.hed

Photo by JOHN PENROD


SPOTLIGHT: Checking the NCAA resumes of area D-I basketball teams

RAIDER IN THE DANCE: Huntington High product Shamir Davis led Northwestern State to the 2013 NCAA Tournament and a first-round matchup with the Florida Gators in Austin, Texas.

BY DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

The incredible NCAA Tournament ledger of the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters is among the elite in NCAA Division I basketball history, men or women.

But in a modern culture where many only consider “what have you done for me lately,” despite the Techsters’ 27 NCAA Tournament appearances, 13 Final Fours, four national runner-up finishes and three national championships (including the 1981 AIAW crown), it’s not Tech’s women who landed on a Big Dance bracket most recently among the men’s and women’s programs representing the four north Louisiana Division I institutions.

That would be the 2018 Grambling Lady Tigers, in their only trip this century.

Among the men’s programs in the 318 area code, the last NCAA participant was Mike McConathy’s 2013 Northwestern State Demons, who had three Shreveport-Bossier products – the Huntington duo of Shamir Davis and “Big Game” James Hulbin, and Bossier’s Jalan West – among their top five scorers. It was the first of three straight seasons NSU had a team in March Madness. In 2014 and 2015, the Lady Demons were surprise winners of the Southland Conference Tournament to earn their way into NCAA postseason play.

A look at the area’s college teams is painfully scarce of recent NCAA appearances. As the men and women prepare to finish the 2021-22 college hoops season, and they stage their respective Final Fours, here’s a review of the major college NCAA postseason resumes of Tech, NSU, Grambling and ULM.

LOUISIANA TECH

The Lady Techsters’ last NCAA Tournament berth came in 2011. Among those 13 Final Four appearances (the last in 1999), the powerhouse Techster squads won it all in 1981, 1982 and 1988. The last of their four national runner-up finishes came in 1998.

Despite plenty of regular-season success, the Bulldogs haven’t landed in the NCAA field in 31 years. That 1991 appearance was the fifth in eight years, with Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Karl Malone the cornerstone for three of them. In 1985, the Mailman led Tech to the Sweet 16, and only a last-second basket by Oklahoma’s Waymon Tisdale denied the ‘Dogs an Elite Eight berth. Three times, Tech made the Round of 32.

NORTHWESTERN STATE

The other area team to make the Round of 32 was McConathy’s 2006 “Demons of Destiny,” whose 26 wins included the comeback upset of No. 15 Iowa in a first-round 14/3 matchup. The NSU men won the tournament’s first-ever Opening Round game in 2001 and last danced nine years ago.

The Lady Demons own four NCAA berths (1989 as an at-large entry, 2004, and 2014-15). Despite some name-brand wins over programs like Duke, Iowa, Louisville and Notre Dame, the NSU women are 0-4 in NCAA play, notably battling top-seeded Tennessee to the final five minutes in 2014.

ULM

A quarter-century ago, the Warhawks were Southland Conference stalwarts, making seven appearances in the NCAA men’s bracket from 1982-96. But there’s been no Big Dance since, and no NCAA wins ever to the credit of the ULM men.

The drought is even longer for the ULM women, whose four NCAA Tournament appearances came from 1983-87 when coach Linda Harper’s teams went toe-to-toe with the Lady Techsters, actually denying them a Final Four berth with a regional final upset in 1985. ULM made the Sweet 16 in 1984 as well, but the program quickly deteriorated due to NCAA rules violations.

GRAMBLING

There are no NCAA Tournament trips by the G-Men. They won the 2018 Southwestern Athletic Conference regular-season crown but faltered in the conference tourney. The Tigers followed Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Willis Reed to the 1961 NAIA national championship.

The Lady Tigers have danced six times, the last trip coming four years ago, but they’re also winless in NCAA play.

Photo by GARY HARDAMON, Northwestern State


State Cup semifinal exit for local club soccer teams

PLAYING UPHILL: The Shreveport United 03 boys, coached by Rob Jump, had to play a man down in the state semifinals but competed valiantly.

By DAVID ERSOFF, Journal Sports

Shreveport United 03 girls and boys teams both fell in the semifinals of the Louisiana State Cup soccer tournament Saturday morning in Baton Rouge.

SU 03 girls lost to eventual State Cup winner Baton Rouge Black, 4-1. With two key starters unavailable and a third limping in with a hurt foot, SU 03 found the task tall even before the opening whistle.

Baton Rouge went up early with a solid goal and a penalty kick. Shortly before halftime, Emily Moffett sent a beautiful pass to Khiana Roraback that she was able to put past the keeper to cut the lead in half, 2-1. Momentum seemed to shift to Shreveport.

But early in the second half, the assistant referee put up his flag for an apparent Baton Rouge foul. Though a foul seemed obvious to the local fan base, the center referee waved it off. One pass later and the score was 3-1.

Coach Gil Roraback argued his case to no avail. Baton Rouge then played a defensive formation and ‘parked the bus,’ which equates to having 10 or more players between the ball and their own goal. As Shreveport tried to push everyone up to get back in the game, Baton Rouge added an insurance goal for the 4-1 final.

This marked the end of this team’s run in club soccer; it won a state title in 2019 and went to the US Club soccer nationals in 2021.

Shreveport United 03 boys were defeated by top-seeded LA Fire Navy 6-1. Odds were against them early in the week when it appeared they would only have 11 players for the game, meaning no break for any players. Two hours before game time, the outlook worsened as a player’s nagging injury left him unable to play. This put the team down a man for the entire game.

Things started with LA Fire taking advantage of an overwhelming time of possession to build an early 3-0 lead. The bright spot came for Shreveport when Juan Gomez Carrion scored the team’s lone goal with an assist from Emiliano Garduno to make the score 4-1 at half.

Shreveport showed signs of life even being a man down. They were able to hold LA Fire to two goals in the half, resulting in the 6-1 final. Keeper Marc DeLeon made 12 saves in the game, worthy of the team’s MVP for the game.

Next up for the Louisiana Soccer Association State Cups is the U11 and U12’s, known as the Bob Abbott Cup, April 9-10 in Baton Rouge. There will be four boys and three girls local teams vying for state titles at different competitive levels. Look for our preview during the week leading up to the event.

Photo by LANCE FOUTS


Lightning bolt hits close to home

The folks at the TV station had cautioned us about the possibility of thunderstorms in our area one morning last June. We had been warned so while we kept our eyes on the skies, life around our house was continuing as normal.

As rain began falling, I made sure our garage door was closed and I settled down with my morning coffee inside, rather than taking my usual treasured spot on the back porch. Kay was folding laundry as we watched the rain and the sky darken and periodic flashes of lightning and accompanying thunder drew closer.

Without warning, it was like a bomb detonated inside our house. The explosion was ear splitting and with all the tall pines around our house, we knew that a bolt must have struck one of them.

Recovering from the blast, I cautiously stepped into the garage to begin assessing the damage. Strangely, the garage door I had closed only moments ago had opened by itself. Hitting the switch to close it, nothing happened; the bolt had knocked out the remote control.

Next, I checked our alarm system; it was also dead. The biggie, though, was when we activated the central air system and it was inoperative.

The sum total of damages resulted in replacement and repair costs approaching $2,000.

Fortunately, homeowners insurance paid a portion but we had to pay the difference.

I began a search later that day for the tree that lightning had struck to cause such damages to our home. It was not until several weeks later that I noticed the tell-tale results of a dying tree, the little white globs of resin that begin showing up once a tree begins it demise. Bugs had started working on the tree that lightning had struck, a tall pine that stood within 10 steps of our garage.

Lightning is something that can be deadly, according to a source I found. A typical lightning flash is about 300 million volts and about 30,000 amps. In comparison, household current is 120 volts and 15 amps. Wow, no wonder we experienced damage when it hit a tree so close to our house.

When lightning strikes a tree, water in the cells instantly begins to boil, creating steam and the expanding steam can explode, cracking or stripping off bark.

Another source said that lightning is one of the leading weather-related causes of death and injury in the United States. Did you know you can be struck by lightning when the center of the thunderstorm is 10 miles away?

Several years ago, I witnessed the aftermath of a lightning strike on a big oak at Lincoln Parish Park. The tree was virtually blown apart with strips of bark catapulted several yards from the trunk.

On another occasion, hay was being baled in the pasture across the road from our home with round bales on the ground waiting for pick up. A bolt of lightning struck one of the bales and I watched in amazement during a heavy rainstorm as the bale caught fire and burned.

This is the time of year when folks are out on the lake fishing, boating or skiing and it’s also the time when thunderstorms can crop up quickly. If skies darken and the rumble of thunder is heard, it’s time to leave the water and seek shelter until the storm passes.

Lightning can be deadly and can do strange things, like causing a garage door to open by itself.


C-USA adjusts Bulldogs’ 2022 league schedule

JOURNAL SPORTS

RUSTON – Following Tuesday’s news that Southern Miss, Marshall and ODU are departing Conference USA at the end of June, the league Wednesday released updated 2022 football schedules that will send Louisiana Tech against the other eight remaining CUSA squads.

While the first four weeks of the Bulldogs’ 2022 slate stay the same with the non-conference portion of the schedule, the entire eight-game C-USA campaign is revised.

Tech will have its bye week on Oct. 1 and then will play eight straight weeks of conference contests with home games against UTEP, Rice, Middle Tennessee and UAB and road games at North Texas, FIU, UTSA and Charlotte.

Tech kicks off the season at Missouri (Sept. 3). The Bulldogs host their home opener against Stephen F. Austin (Sept. 10) inside Joe Alliet Stadium. Tech travels to Clemson (Sept. 17) and South Alabama (Sept. 24) before turning the focus to league play.

Following its bye week, Tech begins October at home for the C-USA opener against UTEP (Oct. 8). The Bulldogs then visit North Texas (Oct. 15), followed by hosting Rice (Oct. 22), and a trip to Miami to face-off against FIU (Oct. 29).

November begins at home as the Bulldogs host Middle Tennessee (Nov. 5). The Bulldogs hit the stretch run with back-to-back road games at UTSA (Nov. 12) and Charlotte (Nov. 19) before closing with a home contest against UAB (Nov. 26).

All games are subject to date changes, said Tech officials, and some dates are expected to move in the coming weeks in order to accommodate national television.Conference USA’s 18th annual Championship Game is scheduled for Friday, December 2. Details on the championship format are undetermined.

Photo courtesy of LOUISIANA TECH


Encouraging post-surgery outlook for Shreveporter Robert Williams III

JOURNAL STAFF

North Caddo High School product Robert Williams III has been a vital part of the Boston Celtics’ surge to the top spot in the NBA’s Eastern Conference and despite a knee injury requiring surgery Wednesday, he could return to action in the playoffs.

The Celtics issued a hopeful statement following Williams’ arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Team doctors project a recovery requiring no more than 4-6 weeks, a timetable that could have the native Shreveporter back on the court in the second round of the playoffs.

Williams, considered a strong contender for NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors before Sunday’s injury, helped Boston go 24-4 since mid-January and into the conference lead. They’ve since slipped into the No. 2 spot.

The 6-foot-9, 237-pound post player is having a breakout campaign in his fourth NBA season, averaging 10 points and 9.6 rebounds while starting 61 games and playing more minutes (1,804) than he had combined in the three previous seasons. Williams is averaging 2.2 blocked shots and 2.0 assists while shooting 73 percent from the floor. His inside play has keyed the Celtics’ emergence as perhaps the league’s best defensive team.

Williams, an avid supporter of North Caddo High and active during the offseason in local civic endeavors, signed a four-year, $48 million deal during this season to begin for the 2022-23 campaign. The 24-year-old is a top candidate for the NBA’s All-Defensive Team and is in the mix for the Defensive Player of the Year award.


TODAY’S SCHEDULE: Haughton hosts Airline in key 1-5A baseball game

Thursday

College Baseball

Auburn at LSU, 6 p.m.

High School Baseball

Airline at Haughton
Byrd at Captain Shreve
Parkway at Benton
Southwood at Natchitoches Central
Doyline at Huntington
Ringgold at Calvary

High School Softball

Airline at Southwood
Minden at Benton
Byrd at Simsboro
Captain Shreve at North Webster
Cedar Creek at Haughton
Logansport at Parkway
Plain Dealing at BTW
Caddo Magnet at Evangel
St. Mary’s at Northwood
Jonesboro-Hodge at North Caddo

High School Track and Field

Bossier Parish Relays – at Benton High School

Friday

Pro Basketball (The Basketball League)

Little Rock Lightning at Shreveport Mavericks, Gold Dome, 7:05 p.m.

College Baseball

Centenary at Schreiner, 2 p.m.
Wiley at LSUS, 6 p.m.
Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss, 6 p.m.
Grambling St. Alcorn State, 6 p.m.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Northwestern St., 6:30 p.m.
Auburn at LSU, 6:30 p.m.
La-Monroe at UT Arlington, 6:30 p.m.

College Softball

Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Grambling St., DH, noon
Centenary at Texas Lutheran, DH, 4 p.m.
Nicholls St. at Northwestern St., DH, 4 p.m.
UTSA at Louisiana Tech, 6 p.m.
Kentucky at LSU, 6 p.m.
La-Monroe at UT Arlington, 6 p.m.

High School Baseball

Quitman at Airline
Glenbrook at Evangel
Logansport at Northwood
Plain Dealing at Woodlawn
Ringgold at Bossier
Loyola at Cedar Creek
Mansfield at Green Oaks
Bossier at Loyola

High School Softball

Calvin at Byrd
North Caddo at Captain Shreve
Caddo Magnet at Huntington
Minden at Evangel
Woodlawn vs. Green Oaks
Calvary at Florien

High School Track and Field

Ruston Hoss Garrett Relays

Note: The above schedule is subject to cancellations or reschedule


Notice of Death – March 30, 2022

Bossier Parish

Quinton Dwayne Mason
January 20, 1942 – March 26, 2022
Visitation:  beginning at 1
Services: Thursday, March 31 at Cypress Baptist Church at 3 p.m.

James Duaine Lindsey
March 10, 1935 – March 27, 2022
Visitation:  9:00 a.m. until the time of service
Services: 10:00 a.m. Thursday, March 31, 2022 at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Drive, Bossier City

Jerry Winn
January 20, 2022 ~ March 20, 2022
Visitation:  Saturday April 2, 2022 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM Heavenly Gates, 1339 Jewell St. Shreveport
Services: Saturday April 2, 2022 11:00 AM Heavenly Gates, 1339 Jewell St. Shreveport

Frederick J. Alex, Sr.
December 23, 1941 – March 18, 2022
Visitation: 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Saturday, April 2, 2022 at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Drive, Bossier City
Services: 1:30p.m. at Rose-Neath Cemetery, 5185 Swan Lake Spur, Bossier City

Caddo Parish

Robert Charles Coleman
April 19, 1954 ~ March 24, 2022
Visitation:  Monday April 4, 2022 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM Heavenly Gates, 1339 Jewell St.
Services: Tuesday April 5, 2022 10:00 AM Northwest La Veteran Cemetery 79701 MIKE CLARK RD
KEITHVILLE

Renee Harris
February 1, 1956 ~ March 27, 2022
Visitation:  Friday April 1, 2022 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM Heavenly Gates, 1339 Jewell St. Shreveport
Services: Saturday April 2, 2022 1:00 PM Lincoln Memorial Cemetery 6915 W 70TH ST SHREVEPORT

Elmer Gibson
May 11, 1949 ~ March 25, 2022
Visitation: Friday April 1, 2022 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM Heavenly Gates, 1339 Jewell St. Shreveport
Services: Saturday April 2, 2022 12:00 PM Carver Cemetery Kennie Road Shreveport

John Calvin Washington
February 28, 1966 ~ March 23, 2022
Visitation: Friday April 1, 2022 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM Heavenly Gates, 1339 Jewell St. Shreveport
Services: Saturday April 2, 2022 11:00 AM Canaan B.C. Stonewall

George Brown, Jr.
November 10, 1943 ~ March 25, 2022
Visitation: Friday April 1, 2022 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM Winnfield Funeral Home – Shreveport
3701 Hollywood Avenue
Services: Monday April 4, 2022 11:00 AM Forest Park Cemetery West 4000 Meriwether Road Shreveport

Xavier Imon Huggins
March 8, 1992 ~ March 24, 2022
Visitation: Friday April 8, 2022 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM Winnfield Funeral Home – Shreveport  3701 Hollywood Avenue
Services: Saturday April 9, 2022 11:00 AM Winnfield Funeral Home – Shreveport 3701 Hollywood Avenue

Teresa Ware
January 18, 1961 ~ March 24, 2022 
Visitation: Friday April 1, 2022 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM Winnfield Funeral Home – Shreveport
3701 Hollywood Avenue
Services: Saturday April 2, 2022 11:00 AM Winnfield Funeral Home – Shreveport 3701 Hollywood Avenue

Sallie B. Sloan
January 6, 1932 ~ March 24, 2022
Visitation: Thursday March 31, 2022 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM Winnfield Funeral Home – Shreveport 3701 Hollywood Avenue
Services: Friday April 1, 2022 11:00 AM Winnfield Funeral Home – Shreveport 3701 Hollywood Avenue

Robert Lee Williams
July 28, 1960 ~ March 23, 2022
Services: Thursday March 31, 2022 11:00 AM Winnfield Funeral Home – Shreveport 3701 Hollywood Avenue

Vertie Kathleen Hebert
December 6, 1964 – March 19, 2022
Visitation: Saturday April, 2, 2022 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. 
Services: a memorial service from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Crosspointe Church of Shreveport at 5550 Jefferson Paige Road, Shreveport 

Betty Virginia Hatcher
January 19, 1945 – March 27, 2022
Visitation: 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the funeral home
Services: 2:00 p.m., Thursday, March 31, 2022 at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 1815 Marshall Street

David Larche Calhoun
March 3, 1939 – March 20, 2022
Visitation:  Thursday, March 31, 2022 from 12:30-1:30 at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2500 Southside Drive in Shreveport
Services: Thursday, March 31, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church, 2050 Bert Kouns Industrial Loop, Shreveport

Miriam Louise Brown Dillon
January 19, 1939 – March 24, 2022
Visitation: held prior to the service at 10:30 a.m. in the cemetery
Services: 11:00 a.m., Friday, April 1, 2022 at Forest Park Cemetery, 3700 St. Vincent Avenue, Shreveport

Robert Charles Coleman
April 19, 1954 ~ March 24, 2022
Services: Tuesday April 5, 2022 11:00 AM Heavenly Gates 1339 Jewell st Shreveport

Mary Stevenson
December 10, 1947 ~ March 20, 2022
Visitation:  Friday April 1, 2022 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM Heavenly Gates, 1339 Jewell St. Shreveport
Services: Saturday April 2, 2022 11:00 AM Peaceful Rest Missionary Baptist Church 8200 St Vincent Avenue
Shreveport

Lodean Chism
1945 ~ 2022
Visitation:  Friday April 1, 2022 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM Heavenly Gates, 1339 Jewell St. Shreveport
Services: Saturday April 2, 2022 11:00 AM Greater New Zion Baptist Church 421 Oak Ridge Drive
Benton

Henry Broom, Sr.
April 25, 1942 ~ March 19, 2022
Visitation:  Thursday March 31, 2022 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM Heavenly Gates
Services: Friday April 1, 2022 11:00 AM Mt. Canaan B.C

Roger Dale Smith
May 4, 1946 – March 25, 2022
Visitation:  Tuesday, March 29, 2022 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a Rosary to follow at 7:00 p.m.
Services: Thursday, March 31, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2500 Southside Dr., Shreveport

Paul David Lerchie
July 30, 1957 – March 25, 2022
Visitation:  Wednesday, March 30, 2022 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., with a Rosary beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Services: Thursday, March 31, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2500 Southside Dr., Shreveport

Marguerite E. Howerton
May 1, 1950 – March 13, 2022
Visitation:  11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 1815 Marshall St., Shreveport
Services: Saturday, April 2, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. at Greenwood Cemetery on Stoner Avenue

Ailewtyc Antoinette-Marie Tobin
September 6, 1988 ~ March 21, 2022
Visitation: Friday April 1, 2022 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM Winnfield Funeral Home – Shreveport
3701 Hollywood Avenue
Services: Saturday April 2, 2022 1:00 PM New Friendship Baptist Church 100 New Friendship Road
Castor


Kansas basketball: A psychiatrist’s dream

Kansas is a 4.5-points favorite against Villanova Saturday in the first of two NCAA Tournament semifinal games. Duke and North Carolina will follow at approximately 7:49; the Blue Devils are a 4-points favorite.

Hello, Awesome Saturday Night. Except …

If you see a Kansas fan between now and then, and if he or she is gnawing on tree bark and unable to mumble a complete sentence, move along. Yes, the Jayhawks are favorites. Yes, Kansas has a basketball tradition as rich as anyone’s.

But yes, Kansas come Tournament time is a heartache waiting to happen.

East Coast. West Coast. Midwest. Deep South. Historically, the Kansas basketball program has arguably left more hoop-loving hearts broken all over this great land and on the Final Four Road than any other program that’s ever dared nail up a peach basket.

They’ve got the awesome old-school gym. The simple, bright, cheerful uniforms you could probably wear to church and get away with. That happy-go-lucky Jayhawk mascot.

It’s a program that’s strung together a ridiculous 31 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, the most ever. All the Jayhawks do is win.

Until it’s time to finish. Kansas has only three NCAA Tournament titles in its illustrious history.

Which is three more than lots of programs, for sure. Most anyone would trade for what Kansas has been able to do, generation after generation.

And still, their reputation is that of a Bracket Buster. Kansas giveth, and Kansas taketh away. Saturday will mark the program’s 16th trip to the Final Four, which means that for all their trips to the mountaintop, the Jayhawks have left as King of the Hill only once every five times.

They’ve been runners-up six times, college basketball’s equivalent of baseball’s 1950s’ Brooklyn Dodgers and 1990s’ Atlanta Braves.

Bridesmaids City.

Recent history:

In 2010, Northern Iowa, historically one of the finest programs in all of the great state of Iowa, bounced them out.

In 2011 as the Tournament’s No.1-seed, Kansas was dismissed by VCU in the Elite Eight. (Time flies; Shaka Smart seems like last week.)

2014, they got Stanford-ed, although it’s important to remember that Kansas was Joel Embiid-less thanks to an unfortunate injury.

2016 and 2018, well, we’ll come back to that in a sec.

In 2020, the Jayhawks were ranked No. 1 in some polls and … The Ultimate Indignity … the Tournament was pandemically cancelled.

So here they are again with head-scratching Kansas, never ranked No. 1 this season, yet champions of the Midwest Regional and the only No.1 Regional seed left in the ballgame. If you are a Kansas fan, you are probably preparing for a dagger where it hurts.

But who knows? Bill Self could become just the 16th guy in the college game to win multiple national titles. Kansas could do what the 1952 and Self’s 2008 team did and win it all.

Very un-Kansas-like, they’ve even won it when they weren’t supposed to. I happened to be there hanging around in Kemper Arena in Kansas City in 1988 when “Danny Manning and the Miracles,” a 6-seed, upset No.1 Oklahoma, 34-3 and winners of 21 of its last 22 games, 83-79. The game was tied 50-50 at the half, the small (for a Final Four) arena was an explosion of cheers and colors and gasps and drama, and the whole thing was more fun than a little bit.

And maybe the same will be true this weekend. Maybe. With Kansas being a favorite over Villanova in the Saturday semis, that’s a step in the right direction.

Except … remember we mentioned 2016 and 2018? Kansas played Villanova in the tournament both those years. And lost. First, in 2016 when the Jayhawks were the top-seeded team in the tournament.

And then in 2018, when Kansas lost to the underdog Wildcats … in the semifinals.


SPOTLIGHT: March Madness extends to women’s NCAA play

AMID THE MADNESS: Former Northwestern State athletics director Greg Burke presents the Greensboro Region championship trophy to coach Dawn Staley and No. 1 South Carolina last Sunday night.

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

MINNEAPOLIS – It’s Wednesday morning, March 30. Greg Burke is having breakfast in Minnesota, site of the Women’s Final Four.

It was also in the heartland, three weeks ago, that Burke and the other 11 members of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Committee met for five days and culminated five months of skipping sitcoms and miniseries to watch telecasts of games from Pepperdine to Portland, from Miami to Monmouth, from New England to the Rio Grande. Sequestered at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis, they crunched numbers, selected the sport’s first 68-team field (matching the men’s bracket, a recurring theme this year), and set a bracket that has three of the top four seeds in the Final Four.

Since breaking out of the conference room with bracket in briefcase March 13, he’s barely been home in Natchitoches. The former Northwestern State director of athletics got back to Cane River country for 48 hours, then drove south a modest 180 miles to help oversee the Baton Rouge regional pod, which had one of the four new Opening Round games before the First and Second Round pairings.

He hurried back just long enough to get clean clothes, then jetted up to North Carolina to work the Greensboro Region Sweet 16, unsurprisingly won by No. 1-ranked South Carolina.

There was a surprise, however. It came from the other two committee members on site who told him that, by an insurmountable 2-0 vote, he had been given the distinction of running the postgame regional trophy presentation. So there was Burke, nearing the final steps in his 44-year career in intercollegiate athletics, handling the mic on national TV, presenting the prize to coach Dawn Staley and her team.

“It was an honor, with me rolling off the committee this spring,” said the ultra-modest Alliance, Ohio native. “It was a very nice moment. I was proud to represent the conference and Northwestern State.”

It is only the second year on this NCAA selection committee for Burke, serving as the Southland Conference representative. He spent four years on the NCAA’s FCS selection panel and several more seasons making trips to serve as a site supervisor for playoff games. He’s also worked on an NCAA academic reform group. He’s the kind of by-the-book, minutia-minded administrator ideally suited for those roles, and he relished the opportunities.

Even when, in his rookie season with the women’s basketball championship last March, COVID-19 protocols compressed the entire tournament to San Antonio and up I-35 to San Marcos and Austin. Burke and his colleagues were all but locked down for 27 straight days, eating boxed meals in their hotel rooms, and adding a degree of difficulty nobody ever imagined.

“This year, we’re back to normal for the most part,” he said, “but the demands in terms of time commitment haven’t changed that much. We’ve been able to get out to dinner occasionally, but otherwise, there’s not time for anything outside our duties.”

This tournament has featured more fantastic finishes than the usual quota, but it has lacked the off-court drama which plagued last year’s event. There’ve been few, if any of the ample complaints from student-athletes that erupted last year, calling attention to issues and inequities tolerated for years.

“It’s a fair statement to say strides have been made,” he said, noting the NCAA commissioned an exhaustive outside comparison of operations for the men’s and women’s tournaments. “It pulled the curtain back on some things that needed to be addressed. The experience in our tournament for the participants this year is improved in so many aspects, and it’s noticeable.”

Affirmation: for the first time, the NCAA uses the trademarked “March Madness” brand for the women, too. There was resistance, but that barrier tumbled while participants and fans are getting much the same experiences as their counterparts participating in the men’s tournament.

That and many more tangible enhancements have made Burke’s swan song all the more rewarding for him, and all involved. When he heads homeward next Tuesday, he’ll have a championship glow.

“There’s still work to be done,” he said. “I’m confident it will be incrementally better next year.”

Then, someone else will do it. Burke won’t be scrambling around the country, grinding through 18-hour days in March. He’ll be watching ESPN from his easy chair, savoring friendships formed and March Madness memories made, worrying only if it’s time for the lawnmower to come out of storage.


Bulldogs bring Hester home as head coach

OLD PALS: Talvin Hester and daughter Rhyan with Tech XXI after Tuesday’s introduction of Hester, the former Louisiana Tech assistant returning to Ruston as Bulldog basketball’s head coach.

By T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT, Journal Sports

RUSTON — Home is where the heart is.

And for new Louisiana Tech men’s basketball coach Talvin Hester, his heart is with the Dunkin’ Dogs, and has been for a while.

Hester was introduced Tuesday as the 19th head coach in Tech men’s hoops history by President Les Guice and Vice President for Athletics Eric Wood and was welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd in the Dr. Guthrie Jarrell Room in the Davison Athletics Complex.

Hester served as an assistant coach at Tech from 2018-21 under the man he is replacing, Eric Konkol, who moved to run the Tulsa hoops program last Tuesday.

Hester took what amounted to a sabbatical last season. He landed a spot on the Texas Tech staff under first-year head coach Mark Adams, and the Red Raiders rolled a 27-10 finish with a Sweet 16 appearance as a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Before his previous three years with the Bulldogs, Hester worked as an assistant coach at Houston for three seasons, following stints at Oral Roberts, Houston, Texas State, Stephen F. Austin and Prairie View A&M while compiling more than 20 years of collegiate coaching experience.

It’s not just basketball binding Hester to north Louisiana. His father was raised in Grand Cane in DeSoto Parish, and on the other side of the family tree are equally deep roots.

For Hester, returning to Ruston, his mother-in-law’s hometown, and Tech, her alma mater, was additional incentive to pursue the job. That, and his bond with most of the current Tech roster formed during his three years on Konkol’s staff, generated an emotional reaction as he talked to supporters and media members.

“It’s a surreal moment,” Hester said. “When you accomplish something that you have been working toward your whole life and you see the people that supported you along the way (in attendance at his introduction), I’m thankful for them. My tears weren’t for me. It was for all of them.

“Now I have to make them proud. I have a job to do. All the lights and cameras will go away, and we have to win basketball games. That is what is next.”

It also made for a joyful day for his family, including mother-in-law Virginia Simmons Jackson as well as his wife Jamieka and their daughter, Rhyan.

“This is wonderful for us,” Jackson said. “My husband and I lived in Austin (Texas) for 24 years but moved to Longview when we retired. We’ve been making that long drive to Lubbock (Texas) to see our family. That was an eight-hour drive; this is going to be two. 

“I’m so proud to have my son-in-law coach at my alma mater, close to where I live and in my hometown. This is wonderful for me.”

Wood said in the week since Konkol’s exit, it became apparent Hester was the right man for the job.

“He just fits here,” Wood said. “He has worked under some great guys. He knows Xs and Os. He’s not just a recruiter, he’s full of integrity and ethics. I felt he would be the right fit for Louisiana Tech right now. He crushed the interview and he separated himself from being an assistant to showing us he could be a head coach.”

Longtime season-ticket holder Gary Stokely said he was happy about the hire because he knows the current Bulldogs are happy about it.

“The players love him,” Stokely said. “The players approached Dr. Wood and told him they wanted Coach Hester. Rarely do ADs pay attention to what their student-athletes say or want; they’re going to do what’s best for the program. But this kind of all aligned itself like it was meant to be.”

Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT


LA Tech gets nothing extra, drops Top 21 showdown

DUGOUT BOUND: Bulldogs starting pitcher Greg Martinez is greeted by teammates as he heads to the dugout Tuesday evening.

By T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT, Journal Sports

RUSTON — No. 21-ranked Louisiana Tech stranded 13 baserunners and got no extra base hits Tuesday night in a 7-4 loss to No. 17 Dallas Baptist at Pat Patterson Park in J.C. Love Field.

The Bulldogs, 18-8, lost for only the third time at home this season. Tech scored in only two innings and got nine hits — but all singles. DBU, 17-8, had 12 hits, including three doubles.

“The wind was swirling and blowing in — there was no money in the outfield,” Tech head coach Lane Burroughs said. “I thought we crushed some balls. Steele (Netterville) got on one that could have been a two- or three-run homer. I thought (Walker) Burchfield hit one that would have been off the housing (beyond left center) out there, but it wasn’t happening tonight.”

Miscues didn’t help the Bulldogs. The Patriots’ first run came off a passed ball in the top of the third inning. DBU added two runs in the top of fourth after leading off with four straight hits; this time a wild pitch allowed the second run of the inning to score and increased the lead to 3-0.

Things tightened in Tech’s half of the fifth. Wade Elliott singled, reached second on a passed ball and scored on Cole McConnell’s single. Phillip Matulia’s base hit scored Netterville, who had singled, to cut the Patriots’ lead to 3-2.

But a wild pitch and a throwing error by the Bulldogs in the top of the sixth helped DBU push across two runs and push the Patriots’ lead back to three at 5-2.

The Bulldogs battled back in the bottom half of the sixth with a two-RBI single by McConnell to make it a one-run game again at 5-4.

Again, Tech couldn’t get a shutdown inning. DBU countered with single runs in both the seventh and eighth innings for more than enough late-game insurance on a tough night for the Bulldogs.

“Too many balls at the backstop,” Burroughs said. “Two leadoff walks and both those runs scored. Those are things we haven’t been doing. We’ve been winning the freebie wars but did not tonight. We played a really good ballclub, and when you do that you can’t make errors, can’t make those mistakes. … Mental lapses — those things can’t happen.”

McConnell was 2-for-5 with three RBIs to lead the Bulldogs; Matulia went 2-for-3 and Adarius Myers came off the bench to collect a pair of hits.

Tech starting pitcher Greg Martinez, 2-1, took the loss.

“We’ll regroup, put this behind us, head to (Southern Miss) this weekend and get back on track,” Burroughs said.

Game One of that three-game Conference USA series is set for 6 p.m. Friday in Hattiesburg.

The Patriots are currently No. 1 nationally in the all-important Relative Power Index (RPI). Tech is tops in the state at 36 (LSU is at 41, ULL at 54) and second in the conference to Southern Miss (30).

Photo by GRACIE KIMBRELL, Louisiana Tech


Lady Bucs knock the wind out of Lady Gators

HAUGHTON HERO: Macey Schut had a big night in the circle and at the plate for the Lady Buccaneers at Captain Shreve.

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

Captain Shreve had more to battle than just the wind when the Lady Gators hosted Haughton in a District 1-5A softball matchup Tuesday evening. The Lady Buccaneers cruised to an 8-0 victory behind a strong performance by pitcher Macey Schut, spectacular defense, and outstanding hitting.

Leading 3-0, Haughton broke the game wide open in the top of the fifth with doubles by Brooklyn Bockhaus, Sara White and Schut to fuel the 5-run inning.

With the victory, the Lady Bucs improved to 13-9 overall and 5-1 in district while the Lady Gators dropped to 12-9 and 3-3. Natchitoches Central leads the district at 6-1, followed by Haughton and Airline at 5-1.

Captain Shreve fell to 12-9 overall and 3-3 in district play. Tuesday’s game was the final scheduled district game for both teams. Haughton, however, travels to Benton (13-6, 2-2) today to finish last week’s district game against the Lady Tigers. The Lady Bucs were leading 7-5 in the top of the eighth inning when the game was called.

Schut gave up just two hits and struck out five in six innings against Captain Shreve. Dixie Williams closed out the seventh inning, giving up one hit and striking out Addison Smith for the final out.

“Macey pitched really well and threw lots of balls hard,” Haughton coach Leanne Prather said. “Both our pitchers threw hard. And we hit the ball on the nose all night. There were probably five balls that would have gone out of the yard if it hadn’t been for the strong wind blowing in.”

Ariana Mathews went 3-for-4 with 3 RBI and White finished 2-for-4 with 2 RBI for the Lady Bucs.

In addition to the strong performance on the mound and at the plate, the Lady Bucs also put on a show in the field with two double plays and no errors.

“Our middle infielders played really well tonight, too,” Prather said.

Haughton got on the board in the bottom of the first when Brochaus scored on a sacrifice fly by Mathews. The Lady Bucs, who finished with 12 hits, added two more runs in third with doubles from Brochaus and Ella Vickers.

The Lady Gators, whose only hits came from Mikel-Ann Ricardo and Maggie Guy, loaded the bases with three walks in the bottom of the third inning but were unable to bring across a run.

Shreve travels to Springhill on Thursday for a non-district game against North Webster.

Photo by JOHN PENROD


Fast start, big innings fuel Parkway’s rout of Shreve

PANTHER PICKOFF: Parkway first baseman Cade Josting swipes a tag on a Captain Shreve runner Tuesday evening.

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

It wasn’t the five runs in the first inning that Parkway coach Sham Gabehart was happiest about in Tuesday’s District 1-5A baseball game against Captain Shreve. It was the six runs in the fifth inning by the Panthers that really caught his attention in what resulted as a 15-4 win at Shreve.

The Panthers came out swinging – Tristan Lape hit the first pitch of the game for a double – and Parkway was off and running to a 5-0 lead before Shreve ever grabbed a bat. Parkway got two more in the third to make it 7-0 and it looked like the Panthers would be able to get an early start on their homework.

But Shreve battled back with two runs in the third and two more in the fourth and suddenly it was a ballgame.

That feeling didn’t last long, however. A simple hit batsman with one out got it started and the Panthers followed with a sacrifice fly by Tanner Kirkland, a two-run single by Cade Josting, an error and a wild pitch to take all the suspense out of it.

“I like the fact that they responded in the fifth,” Gabehart said. “I thought we went to sleep a little bit in the middle of the game and I think we are growing out of that. We are learning how to play every play from start to finish. We are learning how to play the game and just stay in it.”

Parkway tacked on a bases-loaded walk to Josting and a fielder’s choice RBI by Ashton Martin in the sixth to complete the scoring.

Sophomore Sean Waits scattered seven hits and struck out six to pick up the win.

“He’s been steady all year,” Gabehart said. “Sometimes I think I’m too hard on him but he’s steady. He’s got a good fastball and a good curve ball and can pitch on both sides of the plate. With the injuries we’ve had, that’s been huge.”

Arm injuries to Lape and to Brandon Levy have forced the Panthers into Plan B in the pitching rotation, but they’ve stayed in the district race with a 3-1 record (10-10 overall).

“Our guys are improving,” Gabehart said. “They are hitting the ball where it’s pitched and are playing team baseball in regard to their approach at the plate.”

Martin and Tyler Bouillion each had two-run hits in the first inning. Lape finished with three hits and Martin and Josting each had three RBI.

Parkway will begin a huge two-game series against Benton on Thursday. “There are no days off,” Gabehart said. “You can get beat any day you go out there. That’s the grind in it. Everybody is well coached and competitive.”

Shreve, now 8-13 and 1-3 in the district, will have a two-game district series with Byrd beginning Thursday.

Photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL


Bentzler pitches Northwood baseball past Lakeside

By LEE HILLER, Journal Sports

Jaxon Bentzler tossed a complete game four-hitter to lead Northwood to a 3-1 win at Lakeside Tuesday.

The game was tied 1-1 going to the fifth inning when Tucker McCabe delivered a 2-run single to score Hutson Hearron and Luke Bloxom.

The Warriors put two runners on in the bottom of the fifth but a caught stealing at second and a pickoff at first erased both. Bentzler allowed just one runner in the final two innings to finish off the win.

McCabe led off the game with a single and after stealing second and third, scored on an error to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead.

Lakeside starting pitcher Bradley Dick reached third base on a 3-base error and tied the game 1-1 when he scored on a groundout.

Northwood improved to 15-6. Lakeside dropped to 11-6.

HAUGHTON 8, NATCHITOCHES CENTRAL 6: Josh Sewell’s bases-clearing double in the seventh inning broke a 5-5 tie and sent the Bucs past the Chiefs in a District 1-5A game in Natchitoches. It was Sewell’s second hit of the night and gave him a game-high four RBI. Haughton (16-3, 3-1) got three other hits from three other players with Colin Rains and Austin Alexander both having doubles.

AIRLINE 5, BYRD 4: The Vikings stayed undefeated in District 1-5A with the win at home. Airline (9-7, 3-0) got the decisive runs in a 2-run sixth inning to take a 5-3 lead when Keegan Lehr tripled in Harrison Waxley and Mason Morgan singled in Lehr. Byrd (10-9, 1-3) responded with a run in the top of the seventh on a Patrick Snead double that scored David Favrot. Brooks Brossette was out at the plate trying to score the tying run on the play. The Yellow Jackets’ next two batters were retired by Waxley, who picked up the save.

Christian Weddleton had two of Byrd’s six hits, including a triple. Lehr and Waxley were both 2-for-3 with 2 RBI for Airline.

BENTON 18, SOUTHWOOD 2: Kenner Lauterbach hit a 3-run home run to highlight a 10-run first inning as the Tigers went on to rout the Cowboys at home in a 1-5A game. Lauterbach finished with four RBI and Brady Blaylock was 3-for-3 for Benton (11-8, 3-1).

CALVARY 12, GLENBROOK 3: The Cavaliers racked up 13 hits led by Sawyer Fowler’s 3-for-3 in taking down the Apaches in a District 1-1A game at Calvary. Blayne McFerren had two doubles in three at bats, Kyzer Smith had a double and single and drove in three for Calvary (11-10, 3-0). Jackson Legg allowed four hits and one run in five innings of work, with two walks, and struck out two to get the win.

EVANGEL 14, HUNTINGTON 0: The Eagles overwhelmed the Raiders in four innings as Kody Jackson singled, doubled and homered and drove in three runs. Bryce Wilson was also 3-for-3 and had four RBI. Eli Sheen struck out six in three innings and allowed just one hit to get the win.


Airline follows dominant Duran to defeat Byrd

By LEE HILLER, Journal Sports

Aleena Duran went the distance striking out 12 to pitch Airline to a 5-2 win over Byrd Tuesday in a District 1-5A softball game at Airline.

Duran allowed only three hits and shut out Byrd until a 2-run single in the seventh inning.

Duran was 2-for-3 at the plate and doubled in a run in the Vikings’ 4-run fourth inning. Genavieve Howard added a run-scoring double and Hannah Hayes had a sacrifice fly.

Jina Baffuto and Paris Endris both had doubles in addition to Duran and Howard.

Airline improves to 17-6 overall and 5-1 in 1-5A while Byrd drops to 6-13, 0-6.

NATCHITOCHES CENTRAL 8, PARKWAY 1: Maddie Robinson tossed a 2-hitter and struck out 15 to pitch the Lady Chiefs to the win at Parkway. Skylar Braxton and Morgan Robinson had multiple hits as District 1-5A leader NCHS improved to 17-7, 6-1. Parkway’s only hits came in the fourth inning when it scored its only run. Mikaylah Williams led off with a double and Chloe Larry followed with a single to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead. Natchitoches followed with two runs in the fifth, four in the sixth and two more in the seventh. Parkway dropped to 7-10, 2-4.

BENTON 14, SOUTHWOOD 0: Ava Defee tossed a five-inning no-hitter with seven strikeouts and walked three. Megan Risher had a double and two triples and drove in four runs to pace a 12-hit assault on Southwood pitching. Sophia Livers and Taylor Gonzales both had two hits for the only others with multiple hits for Benton (13-6, 2-2).

CALVARY 13, GRANT 7: The Lady Cavaliers started the game with a 6-run first inning and cruised to the non-district win on the road. Ramsey Walker had four hits that included a double and home run and drove in two runs for Calvary (16-10). Mallory Carver had a single and double and two RBI, while Molly Woodle delivered two hits including a double, Tavia Leadon added a double and Elena Franks homered and drove in two.


Tuesday’s Sports Scoreboard

College Baseball

Dallas Baptist 7, Louisiana Tech 4
Jackson St. 9, Grambling St. 5
LSU 15, ULM 4

College Softball

Northwestern St. 6, Louisiana Tech 2
McNeese St. 7, ULM 5

High School Baseball

Airline 5, Byrd 4
Benton 18, Southwood 2
Calvary 13, Glenbrook 3
Doyline 14, Bossier 2
Evangel 14, Huntington 0
Haughton 8, Natchitoches Central 6
Northwood 3, Lakeside 1
Parkway 15, Captain Shreve 4

High School Softball

Airline 5, Byrd 3
Benton 14, Southwood 0
Calvary 13, Grant 7
Haughton 8, Captain Shreve 0
Huntington 12-18, BTW 1-0
Minden 15, Northwood 0
Natchitoches Central 8, Parkway 1
North Caddo 11, Lakeside 2


Lang’s Locks: Expect Duke-Carolina track meet in Final Four

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Dang, another week of close calls on the links. We were all over Corey Conners at 70-1 at the Match Play, but he got edged in the semifinals. At the other PGA Tour stop, we had Alex Smalley (second) and Jhonattan Vegas (fourth). We were also on Houston in the NCAA Tourney and wound up one game short of a nice Final 4 cash. We still managed minimal damage and cashed in on Duke’s appearance in the semifinals.

Speaking of the Blue Devils. Saturday will mark the FIRST NCAA Tourney matchup with North Carolina? In Coach K’s swansong season? Incredible. We’re looking for a lot of points in the Superdome.

The PGA Tour heads to San Antonio this week and we’re stocked with Top 20 wagers.

Notes

All bets are measured in units. For instance, if your normal bet on a game is $100, that is one unit. If the bet is listed as .2 units, it’s a $20 bet.

Best line (as of Tuesday) is listed in parenthesis. Find the best price, one key to being a successful sports bettor! Shop around!

Sportsbook legend

CAE: Caesar’s
FD: Fan Duel
MGM: Bet MGM
DK: DraftKings
BS: Barstool

LANG’S LOCKS

Last week recap: -1.35 units

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS

College Basketball

Final Four, Saturday

Duke-North Carolina over, 151, 1 unit (DK)

Golf

PGA Tour, Valero Texas Open

Top 20 bets

Matt Jones, +550, .7 units (DK)
Andrew Putnam, +750, .4 units ( FD)
Kevin Tway, +900, .3 units (CAE)
Vincent Whaley, +700, .3 units (DK)
Ryan Brehm, +950, .2 units (FD)
Robert Streb, +850, .2 units (FD)
Trey Mullinax, +1100, .2 units (FD)
Seung-Yul Noh, +1100, .2 units (CAE)
Wyndham Clark, +700, .2 units (FD)
Scott Stallings, +450, .2 units (DK)
Joseph Bramlett, +700, .2 units (FD)
Jimmy Walker, +950, .2 units (FD)
Peter Malnati, +900, .2 units (CAE)
Andrew Novak, +1000, .2 units (FD)
Nick Taylor, +500, .2 units (CAE)
Justin Lower, +1100, .2 units (FD)
Dylan Wu, +1200, .2 units (FD)

Korn Ferry Tour, Club Car Championship

Win bets

Mark Hubbard, +3100, .1 unit (FD)
Kevin Roy, +24900, .1 unit (FD)


NSU’s Hoover holds Techsters in check; LSU baseball smacks ULM

COMEBACK SUCCESS: In her first start since offseason surgery, Alexis Perry drove in a key run for NSU in its win over Louisiana Tech.

JOURNAL STAFF

NATCHITOCHES – The Northwestern State softball team got a four-hitter with 11 strikeouts from freshman Sage Hoover Tuesday evening and cracked two home runs in a 6-2 win against visiting Louisiana Tech, completing a sweep of the season series.

The Lady Demons (21-12) never trailed. Hoover struck out the first three batters she faced and retired the first eight in a row before allowing a hit by the Techsters (20-14). Her only trouble came in the top of the fourth after she hit a batter and gave up Caroline Easom’s two-run home run with no outs. She fanned the next two and only allowed a pair of hits the rest of the way.

Easom’s blast countered a two-run shot off the bat of NSU’s Kat Marshall opening the scoring in the bottom of the second. It was her sixth homer of the season. The 2-2 tie didn’t last long as Northwestern posted two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Keely DuBois extended her on-base streak to 20 games with a solo home run to left to put the Lady Demons back on top 3-2 two batters into the frame. After a walk and throwing error put a potential run at second base, Alexis Perry drove the first pitch she saw right back up the middle to give NSU a 4-2 lead.

The Lady Demons added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth on a passed ball and an RBI ground out by Maggie Black that made it a comfortable 6-2 lead.

MCNEESE 7, ULM 5: The visiting Warhawks pushed across four runs in the top of the seventh but couldn’t complete the comeback in Lake Charles. McNeese (17-14) took a 3-1 first-inning advantage and kept ULM (17-9) contained until the final frame.

BASEBALL

LSU 15, ULM 4: Red-hot designated hitter Brayden Jobert launched two homers and drove in seven runs to lead No. 12 LSU to a 15-4 win over UL Monroe in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. Jobert became the first LSU player to collect seven RBI in a game in five years. He has five homers in the Tigers’ last three games and nine dingers on the year. Leftfielder Gavin Dugas also homered and provided an RBI double for the Tigers to bolster the offense, which has scored 42 runs over the past three games. LSU improved to 18-7 with its third straight win, while ULM dropped to 8-14-1.

JACKSON STATE 9, GRAMBLING 5: At Jackson, Miss., the Tigers surrendered a pair of three-run innings in falling, 9-5, to Jackson State in a non-conference contest at Braddy Field. Grambling State (8-17) fell behind 3-0 after one inning but closed the gap to one run twice. However, Jackson State (13-12) blew the game open in the sixth with three runs and didn’t look back. Shermar Page paced the Grambling offense by going 2-for-5, with a double.

Photo by CHRIS REICH, Northwestern State