Local college hoop scoop: LSUS men notch another RRAC crown

CHAMPS:  The LSUS Pilots, led by coach Kyle Blankenship (middle, with net draped around his neck) clinched at least a share of the Red River Athletic Conference title last Thursday and won it outright Saturday. (Photo courtesy LSUS Athletics)

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

The LSUS Pilots didn’t falter, but Texas A&M-Texarkana did in the last week of the Red River Athletic Conference men’s basketball race.

LSUS swept its two home games while A&M-Texarkana fell at Xavier and Louisiana College, giving the Pilots outright possession of the conference championship.

It’s the fourth under 11th-year coach Kyle Blankenship, who is an odds-on favorite to win his seventh RRAC Coach of the Year award, and fourth straight. He is now 211-76 at LSUS after the 22-6 regular season.

Last year’s Pilots didn’t win the outright conference crown, but were East Division champions. More importantly, they won the RRAC Tournament title for a third straight time and advanced into the NAIA Tournament – something the program has done each year since 2013.

The LSUS women also are 22-6 heading into the RRAC Tournament beginning Friday, but A&M-Texarkana was a perfect 20-0 in the conference. The Lady Pilots will be the No. 2 seed as quarterfinals unfold Friday at Rapides Coliseum in Alexandria. 


LSUS:  He did it again. Woodlawn product Jalen Brooks won the RRAC Player of the Week award for the eighth time in 16 weeks, averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds as the Pilots topped Texas College 91-75 last Thursday to clinch at least a share of the league title, then handled Jarvis Christian 88-78 on Saturday. Brooks was also included in the Bevo Francis Watch List Top 50, drawn from top players at every level except NCAA Division I. He’s had 18 double-doubles this season. 

Ahead: The Pilots rematch with Jarvis Christian Friday at 1:15 in Alexandria. A win moves LSUS into a 3 p.m. Saturday semifinal. The championship game, won last year by the Pilots, is Sunday at 2.

CENTENARY:  The Gents (17-8) dropped a pair on the road last week to end the regular season, and are the No. 3 seed in the six-team Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament beginning Friday in San Antonio. Centenary fell 68-55 Friday at St. Thomas, then 66-55 Sunday at Colorado College. 

Ahead:  Centenary meets sixth-seeded Southwestern (10-15) Friday at 7, hoping to go 3-0 on the series this season. The Gents won 58-49 on the road Dec. 11 and 71-52 at the Gold Dome on Jan. 27. Awaiting in the semifinal round is second-seeded Trinity, which split regular-season contests with Centenary, losing 69-65 in Shreveport in December but rolling 80-59 Jan. 20 in Texas. St. Thomas is the top seed. 

BOSSIER PARISH CC:  The Cavaliers (12-14, 4-12) dropped an 83-76 decision last Saturday to Trinity Valley CC despite having four players in double digits, led by 16 points apiece from Elijah Beard and Kendrick Delahoussaye. 

Ahead:  Bossier Parish is home Wednesday night at 7 against Navarro, hoping to turn around a 100-85 loss on the road last month. The Cavs go to Kilgore on Saturday. 


LSUS:  The Lady Pilots (22-6) dominated their games last week, blasting Texas College 65-39 Thursday and Jarvis Christian 70-51 Saturday afternoon on Senior Day. Appropriately, seniors Chelsey White and Tatym Barnes led the scoring with 11 on Saturday. 

Ahead:  LSUS is the No. 2 seed and will face the No. 7 seed, still to be determined in a three-way logjam for the last two tournament spots. That quarterfinal tips at 6:30 at Rapides Coliseum, with Saturday’s semifinal at 5:30 and the Sunday championship game starting at 4:30 after the men’s final. 

CENTENARY:  The Ladies finished 3-22 overall, 3-13 in the SCAC following losses on Friday at St. Thomas (68-57) and Sunday at Colorado College (81-47). With two-thirds of the team freshmen, the only direction to go is up for Centenary. One highlight – Alana Jones, who was named Centenary’s SCAC Character and Community Award winner earlier this month, finished the regular season second in the league with her 8.2 rebounding rate. 

Contact Doug at sbjdoug@gmail.com