By PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports
It is amazing how some things change but the main parts eerily remain the same.
At this point in 2021, Bossier was set to meet Carroll with a semifinal berth in the class 3A semifinals on the line. The Bulldogs prevailed in Monroe over the Bearkats, winning in overtime to move on to Marsh Madness in Lake Charles.
One year later, the same two teams played with the same stakes on the line. This time, Bossier was the home team on Friday night, and the winning team, 60-47, over the visiting Bulldogs.
It’s an old habit. The Bearkats are headed to the Top 28 for the third time in four years, the 11th appearance since 2005 – including six straight from 2009-14.
After a low-scoring first quarter that saw both teams getting their footing, Bossier placed the clamps on Carroll the rest of the game. Behind Joseph Manning and his game-high 23 points, Bossier took control and secured its place in the 3A semifinals. Manning got scoring support from fellow senior Marquis Harris (14 points) and junior Tahj Roots (10).
Following the final horn, Bossier participated in the customary net-cutting ceremony all semifinalists enjoy, if playing the quarters at home. This time, the vibe seemed more a relief than a joyous occasion.
“It feels good to get the job done,” Bearkats’ coach Nick Bohanan said. “We played tight, though. At the end, we made enough plays to stay alive.”
With all the emotions flowing in Shreveport-Bossier following the death Thursday of Huntington wing Devin Myers, Bossier seemed to be in a daze. Bohanan called it tightness. His senior guard, Joseph Manning, thought it was a combination of things.
“We played sloppy at first,” Manning said. “We played more as a team in the second half and executed. For me, it was hard to play with Devin weighing on my mind. He was a childhood friend, and to know I couldn’t hug him one more time was hard.”
Even though the Bearkats struggled offensively in the first half, only scoring 21 points, they were locked in on the defensive end. They held Carroll to 12 points in the first 16 minutes, seven from sharpshooting guard Rickey Johnson.
Bohanan thought the Bearkats’ defense rose to the task.
“We played well defensively. They killed us (in the second half) on the backside rebounding,” Bohanan said. “However, we got stops when we needed them. They shoot a lot of 3s, so we played the percentages on that.”
Even with their production on the glass after halftime, Carroll (16-15) could not hang with Bossier. With Johnson and Ashton Scott sidelined with fouls, Bossier kept driving into the paint. At one point, the lead grew to 18. Johnson, who finished with 15, helped close the gap. The lead was too much, however.
Bossier advanced to face another Monroe powerhouse, the Wossman Wildcats, who rolled St. Martinville 72-46 in their quarterfinal. The semifinal game will tip Thursday at 2:30 at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles.