The Shreveport-Bossier Prep Hoops Report – Volume 16: The final buzzer of ‘23

We have put a bow on the high school season with the crowning of 10 boys’ champions in Lake Charles.  From George Washington Carver to Zwolle, champions were crowned over 10 divisions in Louisiana. 

There were three area teams who had a chance to be crowned state champions.  In this edition of the SBJ Prep Hoops Report, we will review what those teams accomplished in Lake Charles and talk about other hoops pertinent to the area. 

Bossier wins a fifth state title 

The Division II Non-Select title game between Carroll and Bossier was nothing short of a classic. Bossier actually controlled a large portion of the game from the second quarter on, using a 3-2 zone that the Bearkats rarely break out. Even though they were handcuffed by the zone, the Bulldogs found a way to cut the deficit to one late in the game. 

Bossier quickly countered with a 6-0 run to seal the deal. The zone, coupled with the play of senior leaders Lakavin Thomas and Tahj Roots, allowed Bossier to capture a 42-33 win over Carroll. Thomas capped his senior year with the Most Outstanding Player award after the win. 

Calvary comes up short against Newman 

“Vic (Morris) had those guys ready to play.  They made it hard on us,” was the postgame quote of coach Randy Livingston of Newman after his team claimed the Division III Select title.

Calvary was playing in its fourth straight championship game, still trying to grab that elusive first title. While the Cavs came out and made things difficult for Newman, the Greenies made things just as difficult as Calvary had trouble scoring.

While the Cavs made it a 16-11 game at the half, Newman outscored the Cavs 21-8 in the third to put the game out of reach. Gatorade Louisiana Player of the Year Chris Lockett won the game’s Most Outstanding Player award, scoring 16. KJ Kennon led Calvary with 15 points, going 3 of 7 from deep.  

Huntington gets bounced in the semis 

The Raiders faced the Scotlandville Hornets with a trip to the finals on the line. A slow start in the first quarter got the Raiders down early. However, they bounced back with a strong second quarter and were only down four points at the half.

When the Raiders came out for the third quarter, they came out lethargic again. They turned the ball over constantly, giving the Hornets moments to capitalize on. Huntington only scored 14 in the second half to the Hornets’ 30 as Scotlandville moved on to the Division I Select final.  The Raiders finished the season with a record of 24-9. 

Huntington alum claims state title for Kimball 

It appears that the third time was indeed the charm for Kimball (Texas) High School coach and Huntington alum Nicke Smith. His team claimed Kimball’s seventh state title with a hard-fought 50-47 victory over Veterans Memorial (San Antonio) and a 69-48 drubbing of Killeen Ellison in the final. Competing in seven rounds was a tall task but the Knights stayed the course and helped the Huntington grad claim his first state championship as a head coach in Texas. 

Local players to participate in All-Star game 

The Louisiana High School Basketball Coaches Association (LHSBCA) will be holding the annual all-star games this Saturday at Pineville in H.O. West Fieldhouse at Louisiana Christian University. Several area players will be participating this weekend in their final competition as high school students.

On the girls’ side, Mikaylah Williams (Parkway) and Marissa Schoth (Benton) will be playing Saturday. Lyndzee McConathy of Airline will be the coach of the girls’ West squad. 

For the boys, Malaki Thomas (Calvary Baptist), Decedric Webb (Huntington), and Jayden Easter (BTW) will compete. The girls’ game will begin at 1 p.m. and the boys’ game will tip at 3 p.m. 

This season has been one for the books.  We hope that you have been entertained and informed by the SBJ Prep Hoops Report.  I look forward to sharing with you more hoops in the future. Until then, au revoir!  

Contact Preston at or Twitter handle @peedee1906

The Shreveport-Bossier Prep Hoops Report – Volume 15: Marsh Madness

Marsh Madness has taken over the state! From Hammond to Lake Charles, champions have been crowned in the 10 girls’ divisions while the boys’ divisions are playing for their share of glory.

As far as local teams are concerned, we have crowned one champion (the Parkway Lady Panthers) with two more potential champions playing Friday (Bossier and Calvary Baptist). In this edition of the SBJ Prep Hoops Report, we will reflect on how we got to this point and what is waiting for Bossier and Calvary as they compete for state titles in their respective divisions. 

Parkway breaks through in Hammond 

There could have been a lot of anxiety on behalf of the Parkway Lady Panthers in Hammond.  They were facing the team that they lost to the year before in the same venue.  Whatever demons they might have had from that loss to Ponchatoula, they were exorcised by the Lady Panthers.

Scoring a game-high 34, Mikaylah Williams and her teammates avenged their state championship loss with a resounding 80-57 victory. WIlliams was named most outstanding player as she also grabbed 11 rebounds in the contest.  The Division I Non-select title was the first championship for Parkway in girls’ basketball and the first for coach Gloria Williams. 

An instant classic on Rasberry Lane 

As long as I can remember, Southwood and Huntington have always had intense matchups on the hardwood. The latest version of this rivalry was to see who moves on to Lake Charles and it was nothing short of a slugfest. 

In a back-and-forth matchup last Friday night where Huntington led by as many as seven, it came down to senior Chris Carpenter making free throws while the Cowboys could not score in the last minutes of the game. 48-44 was the final and allowed the Raiders to move on to Lake Charles.  

Two victories in one day 

It is not often that teams win without their coach. However, Calvary Baptist punched its ticket to the Division III Select title game with coach Vic Morris sitting in a local hospital expecting his second child by having the ultimate pinch hitter — former head coach Chad McDowell.  The school’s top administrator filled in and helped the Cavs reach their fourth consecutive title game under his tenure. 

While victory No. 1 happened on the hardwood, victory No. 2 came later that night as coach Morris and his wife had a beautiful, and healthy, baby girl. Hopefully, Calvary can take the momentum of these victories and manifest it into a state title as they face powerful Isidore Newman on Friday at 2 p.m. 

Speaking of consecutive appearances 

Dallas Kimball has a long tradition of being one of the best basketball powers in Texas hoops.  The fact that Shreveport native and Huntington alum Nicke Smith has been entrusted with this program speaks volumes to what he accomplished at Huntington and what he has accomplished at Kimball. 

The Knights will play in their third straight Texas semifinal tonight at 7 p.m. against Veterans Memorial out of San Antonio. A win will take Smith to his second title game in three years.  What an accomplishment for the Shreveport native. Let’s see if Kimball can close the deal and make the third time a charm. 

Nothing bigger than the B 

Justin Collins and the Bossier Bearkats find themselves in yet another title game as they defeated top seed Wossman 48-42 on Day Two of Marsh Madness in Lake Charles. Tahj Roots, Lakavin Thomas, and Javon Johnson all scored in double figures, and they helped Collins, in his first year, reach the Non-Select Division II title game. 

They will face none other than the No.3-seed Carroll Bulldogs in the finals. Carroll will be looking to avenge the quarterfinal loss from last season to Bossier and win its first crown for first-year coach and Carroll grad Brandon Landers.

A little lagniappe never hurt 

Nobody is hurt by a little lagniappe. In this case, the lagniappe consists of shoutouts for some local accomplishments.

Southwood finished District 1-5A with a 14-0 mark. It was the first undefeated district season since 2003 for the Cowboys in District 1-5A. 

Captain Shreve’s Gators reached their second quarterfinal in three seasons under coach Corey Deans. 

Mikaylah Williams has garnered three POY awards.  She was named the Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year, Gatorade Louisiana Player of the Year, and MaxPreps Louisiana HS Player of the Year. Congrats to Mikaylah on all of her accomplishments.

Look for us to cover the finals and other basketball business when the SBJ Prep Hoops Report convenes next week. Until then, catch some basketball while you can!

Contact Preston at or Twitter handle @peedee1906

The Shreveport-Bossier Prep Hoops Report – Volume 14: Survive and advance

The playoffs have shown area teams that they have to fight, scratch, and claw their way to wins during this time of year. No longer can the ball just be rolled out and lesser teams show up. 

In this edition of the Shreveport-Bossier Prep Hoops report, we are going to dive deep into the area teams who are still alive in the playoffs along with some other basketball news pertinent to the area. 

Parkway looking to close the deal 

The Lady Panthers were a late 3-pointer away from being 2022 state champions. Instead, Mikaylah Williams and her teammates are looking to close the deal this year. They have a tough Barbe team, led by Mikaylah Manley, to face in the Division I Non-Select semis. Tip time will be at 4:45 today.  The winner of this matchup will face the winner of Walker and Ponchatoula Saturday night at 8.

Loyola, Green Oaks, and Evangel bow out 

Three boys’ teams who had first-round wins took to the road this week to continue their hopes of winning a state title.  Unfortunately for them, their dreams of playing in Marsh Madness for a title were finished early in the week.  Loyola and Green Oaks faced the top two seeds in the Division III Select bracket.  Green Oaks faced the No. 1 Greenies of Isidore Newman on Monday and lost 74-48 while Loyola fell to Metairie Park Country Day 57-40. 

Evangel played Division II Select No. 5 seed Archbishop Shaw, after the Eagles scored their first-round win over St. Louis Catholic. Evangel came up short in that game 61-49 ending its season at 22-10. 

A rivalry renewed Friday night

Southwood and Huntington both hosted Division I Select second-round games.  Both hosted schools from the New Orleans metro area.  That is where the similarities end.  Huntington used a massive fourth-quarter push to defeat 13th-seeded Holy Cross while Southwood survived a last-second 3-point attempt by John Curtis to win by three. 

However you slice it, Southwood and Huntington renew their rivalry one more time with a trip to Marsh Madness on the line Friday night at HHS. 

Huntington won the in-season matchup at Southwood 50-42. This is a different Cowboy team after winning 18 straight. This matchup might be one that is talked about for years to come. 

Survive and advance 

Captain Shreve and Calvary survived scares from lower-seeded teams to advance to the quarterfinals of their respective playoff divisions. Calvary escaped defeat when a Rondae Hill floater dropped in the bottom of the net with seconds remaining pulling out a 54-52 victory over Mentorship Academy.  Captain Shreve survived a physical game with Eleanor McMain and prevailed 37-32. 

The Gators will venture to Baton Rouge to face the Division I Select No. 3 seed Catholic while Calvary will host Division III Select sixth-seed St. Thomas Aquinas.  Both games will determine a trip to Marsh Madness. 

First-year success 

First-year coach Justin Collins is finding playoff success leading the Bossier Bearkats. Collins earned his first playoff victory with a 60-41 drubbing of Opelousas on Tuesday in a Division II Non-Select second-round game.

Next up for Bossier is 12th-seeded Plaquemine.  If the Bearkats win that game, Collins will have completed a feat that some veteran coaches have not and that is reaching Marsh Madness. 

A win will also set up a meeting with perennial 3A power Wossman. These teams faced each other last season with Wossman winning in Lake Charles. Collins and the Bearkats will have a major task on their hands if they get to Marsh Madness. I don’t think they would have it any other way. 

Kimball at it again 

Former Huntington Raider alums Nicholas and Gerald Smith are once again leading the Kimball Knights into the latter rounds of the Texas UIL 5A playoffs. They will play Red Oak HS on Friday in the regional semifinals. A win there will take them to their third straight regional final.  Winning the regional final will take them to their third state finals in a row. Good luck to the former Raiders as they attempt to make history at Kimball High.

Playoff action will continue through the weekend with the girls’ state championships in Hammond and the boys’ championships beginning Monday in Lake Charles.  Good luck to all of the area teams competing for a chance to hoist a state championship trophy.

Contact Preston at or Twitter handle @peedee1906

Southwood survives upset bid on Evans’ free throws

(File photo by PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports)

By PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports

Southwood boys’ coach Brandon Gultery was “excited and ready to get it going” when asked about the Cowboys’ second-round playoff game Tuesday night against John Curtis. Being that it was the first home playoff game under his tenure, he was understandably stoked. 

The Cowboys were also on a 17-game win streak, so there was an air of confidence floating around “The Ranch” on Walker Road.

Today, there still is.

But John Curtis definitely tested the confidence and resolve of the Cowboys.  However, late free throws from junior big Jeremiah Evans gave Gultery and the Pokes a 56-53 win over the visiting Patriots from River Ridge. 

The Patriots started the game scoring the ball at will before the Pokes got themselves going.  Cameron Green and Maurice Carson got Southwood untracked, scoring seven early points apiece.  Their 14 points combined with two technical free throws by Evans at the end of the quarter pushed the Cowboy lead to six at the end of one. 

John Curtis tightened the screws on the defensive end, holding the Cowboys to five points in the second period. Combined with some timely shooting, the Patriots tied the game at 21 going into the half. 

The second half proved to be when Southwood showed how dominating it can be on the offensive end of the floor. The Pokes drove to the basket and dumped the ball inside to their 6-10 big man Evans. They spread the scoring around and had another 16-point quarter while holding the Patriots to 13.  At the end of three, Southwood held a 37-34 edge. 

The final quarter was a tale of what both teams did well.  Southwood got the ball inside to Evans and he either scored or got fouled.  The Cowboys pushed the lead to nine at one point.  That was when Autrail Manning got going for the Patriots. 

Manning scored 12 points in the last four minutes of the game, pushing the Cowboys to the limit.  He nailed a 3-pointer to cut the lead to six.  After a couple of Southwood free throws, he got fouled and made three free throws.  He then went 2-for-4 from the floor and kept putting pressure on the Cowboys. 

At the end however, it was Evans making four of his six free throws in the last 1:10 of the game to thwart the 13-point quarter that Manning had.  Evans scored 10 points himself in the final frame. 

Afterwards, Gultery was not proud of his team’s defensive effort.  He was proud of the win, however. 

“We did not play defense well tonight.  We try to hold teams around 42 points.  But, in the end, we are happy with the win,” he said.

The win will send them traveling to Rasberry Lane to face in-town rival Huntington in the quarterfinals of Division I Select.  The Raiders won their game Tuesday night 85-70 over Holy Cross. Friday’s game time is to be determined.

Evans led the Pokes with 19 points (14 in the 2nd half) and 13 rebounds.  Manning, the John Curtis freshman point guard, led all scorers with 22 points, 18 of those after intermission.  The Patriots finished with a 24-8 record while Southwood improved to 24-7 on the season.   

Contact Preston at or on Twitter at @peedee1906

Parkway dominates early as Lady Panthers punch their ticket to Hammond

CAN’T STOP THIS: Chloe Larry puts up a baseline jumper from the far corner Thursday night. She scored 13, helping Parkway roll into the state semifinals. (Photo by PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports)

By PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports

The Parkway Lady Panthers and a home quarterfinals game have been synonymous the past three seasons.  In this year’s version, the Lady Panthers hosted District 1-5A foe Natchitoches Central. When Parkway coach Gloria Williams was asked about the third-time-around with the Lady Chiefs, she did not mince words. 

“I hate it,” she said with a small chuckle. “It seems like we have had to play someone from our district the last four years.  It is a testament to our district, however.”

The last time Parkway played a fellow 1-5A team in the quarters, the Lady Panthers ended up being defeated by Benton in a memorable playoff thriller two years ago.

Thursday night’s LHSAA Non-Select Division I quarterfinal was a little different, however. It just meant more. This quarterfinal between the two teams was the last one all-everything guard Mikaylah Williams and her senior classmates would play at Parkway High.

Williams said the game gave her a bittersweet feeling. That feeling did not appear to last too long as the Lady Panthers pummeled the Lady Chiefs of Natchitoches Central 58-24 before a packed crowd at Parkway’s gym (aka “The Cage”). 

It was unsurprising since Parkway had pounded NCHS, the district runner-up, in both regular-season meetings. But in a playoff, as Benton proved two seasons ago, there are no guarantees.

Williams scored a game high of 19 (15 in the second half) as Parkway answered the bell early (and often), taking control almost immediately.

On the first possession of the game, Williams whipped a 35-foot baseball pass to Ty’Lisa Henderson for an uncontested layup.  From that moment on, Parkway seemed to get any shot it wanted. 

While Natchitoches Central took a brief 3-2 lead following a 3-pointer by sophomore Akeelah Wade, Parkway kept up the offensive pressure. After an Ambree Williams layup, the first quarter belonged to Mekanna Miles.

The Lady Chiefs’ box-and-1 on sharpshooter Chloe Larry did not rotate to the corners and that is where Miles made them pay.  Her 11 first-quarter points included three straight 3-point shots that pushed the Parkway lead to 13 (19-6) at the end of one. 

The Lady Panthers’ defense was the co-star of the night as they gathered every defensive rebound while causing the Lady Chiefs to throw the ball away or dribble the ball off of their feet in the first half.  Coach Williams expressed that strategy was part of their gameplan. 

“Our goal was to hold them to one shot and to rebound,” she said postgame.  Needless to say, that strategy paid dividends all night.  Along with the defensive rebounding, Parkway also garnered 15 offensive rebounds. 

After halftime, it appeared that Natchitoches Central was content on trading shots on the offensive end while changing defenses on the other. The changing defenses, however, allowed Mikaylah Williams to settle in and score 11 points in the third.  By the end of the quarter, the game was pretty much out of reach. 

Williams (19), Miles (17), and Larry (13) scored in double figures for the Lady Panthers while Akeelah Wade had a team-high 11 for the Lady Chiefs. 

Parkway (28-5) will move on to face third-seeded Barbe next week at Marsh Madness in Hammond.  The date and time of the semifinal will be determined this weekend by the LHSAA. 

Natchitoches Central finished the season with a record of 24-10 and another deep playoff run from one of the state’s traditionally-tough girls’ basketball programs.

Contact Preston at or Twitter handle @peedee1906

The Shreveport-Bossier Prep Hoops Report, Volume 13: Playoff storylines

I truly thought Volume 13 of the Shreveport-Bossier Prep Hoops Report was going to be a continuation of the great playoff runs on the girls’ side of things, plus the addition of the area boys’ playoffs. 

Then Tuesday night happened.  While the boys’ playoff brackets were being uploaded earlier in the day, that night the hopes and dreams of the local girls’ teams were smashed like pumpkins in losses around the state. 

So, instead of recapping and highlighting a ton of action, we will change gears. We will still highlight the week that was but shift our focus to the boys’ playoffs on Friday and other basketball important information. 

And then there were two… 

On Monday night, there were eight local teams still alive with the chance to make the quarterfinals of their respective girls’ bracket. When the night ended, only Huntington and Parkway were moving ahead. 

Benton and Haughton each faced one of the top three seeds in Division I Non-Select on the road and couldn’t pull upsets. Wins would have given District 1-5A four quarterfinalists. Instead, two teams from the district made it and will face each other at 6:30 tonight as Natchitoches Central visits Parkway.  This will be their third meeting on the season with Parkway winning the first two convincingly. It will be the last high school home game for the incomparable Mikaylah Williams alongside her very talented teammates, which is reason enough to come watch.

Outside of Huntington and its 30-point win over Acadiana, everyone else from the area struggled.  BTW lost to Division II Select third seed St. Louis Catholic in Lake Charles, while Loyola and Calvary only managed to score in the low 20s in their Division III Select road losses.

While it is not over, all local area hopes lie with Huntington and Parkway.

Boys’ playoff brackets announced  

Thirteen boys’ teams from the area made the 2023 playoffs. There were a couple of surprises in this group along with quite a few mainstays.  We will see what Friday night holds as eight of the teams will tip it off hoping to extend their seasons.  

Division I Non-Select 

Two Bossier schools, Airline and Parkway, will take their fortunes on the road Friday night.  Parkway, who benefitted from the Zachary Broncos’ playoff suspension for their part in a massive fight last week, are the 28th seed and will face perennial 5A power Ouachita at the Madhouse on Madison Friday night in Monroe. While the Panthers have a tough task, if their guards are shooting it well and Ouachita is not, this may turn into a dogfight. 

Airline has a great chance to pull off a victory against a stout but up-and-down East Ascension team. The Vikings are led by the playoff experience of Coach Eddie Hamilton and the shooting of Colby O’glee and Trevon Jackson. If it is a close game, I would bet on the Vikes.

Division II Select 

The Evangel Eagles and BTW Lions, both out of District 1-4A, will play their respective games on Friday. The Lions have the bigger challenge as they will go on the road to face a highly-talented Northside team in Lafayette.  The Lions played well down the stretch of the regular season.  If that carries over, Northside will be in a fight to the end.

The Eagles will host St. Louis Catholic from Lake Charles at 6:30 in their home gym.  St. Louis Catholic is known to travel well, and this may be an occasion where that happens.  Evangel is definitely the more well-rounded and talented team.  However, if the Eagles are not shooting the 3 well, this game can be a lot closer.

The rest of the crew

Magnolia Charter, one of the newer teams in the LHSAA, will make its first playoff appearance and will face Vermilion Catholic on Friday. The winner will play always-powerful Southern Lab in the second round. 

Four teams from District 1-2A made the playoffs in Division III Select.  The 24th seed, North Caddo, will travel to play Episcopal in Baton Rouge. Green Oaks, the 17th seed, will play 16-seeded Pope John Paul II on the road with a chance to play No. 1 Isidore Newman on the line.

Loyola will host Sarah T. Reed at 6 o’clock Friday. The victor will face Country Day in the next round.  Calvary, the third seed, has a bye. 

Division I Select teams Huntington, Southwood, and Captain Shreve all received first-round byes.  Division II Non-Select Bossier will also have Friday off.  The Bearkats await the Opelousas-A.J. Ellender winner. 

This is the most awesome time of year in high school hoops. Good luck to all the area teams competing tonight and Friday. 

Contact Preston at or Twitter handle @peedee1906

Lady Raider trio powers Huntington’s overwhelming win over Acadiana

RAMS ROUGHED:  Huntington’s defense made scoring a struggle for visiting Acadiana Monday night as the Lady Raiders rolled into the state quarterfinals. (Photo by PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports)

By PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports

Huntington girls’ basketball coach Brian Shyne noted that his team missed a ton of 3-point shots and said that they were a little rusty from a week off after drawing a bye in the LHSAA playoffs’ first round.

Regardless of what he thought, Huntington made believers out of the Acadiana faithful that traveled up I-49 from Lafayette with the visiting Lady Wreckin’ Rams. The matchup between the seventh-seeded Lady Raiders and No. 10 Acadiana shaped up to be very competitive, but it wasn’t.  

The trio of Kyndal Graham, Jamari Bell, and ZaNyah Lefear powered the Lady Raiders to a 66-35 victory over the Lady Wreckin’ Rams. The Huntington standouts scored 47 of the team’s total and were catalysts in the defensive effort that saw Acadiana turn the ball over 20-plus times. 

Shyne acknowledged the trio and their efforts.

“If those ladies do not score, we don’t win,” he said. ”When they are on, they are on.  They are young as well and they are growing up together.”

After a rocky first quarter when both teams shot a ton of air balls from deep and just missed shots in general, Huntington seemed to get it together early in the second quarter. Bell, who lived in the passing lanes all night, ignited an 8-0 run early in the quarter that got the Lady Raiders off and running.

Once that run by the Lady Raiders was finished, Graham took over.  She lit the Wreckin’ Rams up from deep with two triples on her way to a 14-point quarter.  With Graham’s sharp shooting and the Lady Raiders’ defense in full gear, they pushed their five-point first-quarter lead to 17 by the half. 

Lefear led Huntington with a number of steals and by pushing the ball in transition during the third quarter to thwart the surge by Acadiana star Zoe Spain as she began to heat up. Huntington maintained the pressure and the lead as the Lady Raiders stayed in charge of Acadiana and led by 18 going into the final quarter. 

While all three ladies scored in the fourth quarter, they got their teammates involved as well.  The Lady Raiders were never in danger as they finished the game outscoring Acadiana 20-7 in the fourth. That defensive effort was the theme of the night as the Lady Raiders held Acadiana to three single-digit quarters. 

Graham, a freshman, led all scorers on the night as she poured in 24 points. Spain carried the Wreckin’ Rams with 21 points, 15 of those in the second half. 

Acadiana finished with a record of 23-10 while Huntington (24-6) prepares to travel to face second-seeded Lafayette in the quarterfinal round on Thursday, with game time to be determined. 

The Lady Raiders are shooting for a second straight trip to Marsh Madness after a semifinal trip to Hammond last year.

Contact Preston at or Twitter handle @peedee1906

The Shreveport-Bossier Prep Hoops Report, Vol. 12: Playoffs are the payoff

We are finally into the best part of the high school basketball season. The girls’ playoffs are just beginning and the last games of the regular season are happening on the boys’ side of things. 

Locally, we have a ton of teams who have a chance to have a postseason to remember. In this volume of the SBJ Prep Hoops report, we will take a look at the girls’ playoffs, potential games of the year, and look ahead to the end of the season and the playoffs for the boys.

Game of the Year candidates 

In the matter of one full week, there were three boys’ games which became immediate contenders for Game of the Year in Shreveport-Bossier. Last Tuesday was the Huntington-Evangel classic that was won by Huntington by one point (61-60) in overtime. Friday night saw a thriller between Bossier and Huntington which saw Bossier prevail 93-86 in triple overtime. The final entry was the Tuesday night contest at Captain Shreve as Southwood defeated Shreve 53-52 in overtime. All three games had twists and turns that made them must-watch games during the season. 

As a result of the win at Shreve… 

As a result of the Pokes’ victory at Captain Shreve, Southwood has the opportunity to become the first team to go undefeated in District 1-5A since 2017-18. The Cowboys have one last district foe in Natchitoches Central to face at home on Friday night to accomplish the feat. This would be the first time since the Chiefs re-entered the district that any team has gone undefeated. Game time is 7 p.m. on Friday. 

Playoff road warriors 

The girls’ playoffs continue tonight for all of the area teams traveling to play. Considering that 1-5A is one of the most competitive districts in the Boot, I believe that all of the Non-Select teams have a great chance of winning their first-round games. Haughton, Benton, and Airline are all on the road. However, they are all in situations where they can win their respective games. A road win will pit them against a Top 4 team next week. If things go the way they want, there might be as many as five teams from 1-5A in the Non-Select quarterfinals.

The Select teams have a tougher challenge. Southwood won one game in the last two months and that appears to be the one that qualified the Lady Cowboys for the playoffs. This group of sophomores and freshmen have grown over that time. They do not have enough to defeat a strong Liberty squad. Northwood, Calvary Baptist, and BTW all have tough road games in their respective divisions. If those squads pull off the road win, they will each face a team with a first-round bye which will be tough sledding on the Select side.  

Boys’ potential playoff scenarios 

With the boys’ regular season ending this weekend, it is time to look at potential playoff pairings. Southwood has won District 1-5A and will get the district point which should put the Cowboys ahead of Captain Shreve. Huntington, Southwood, and Shreve will all get first-round byes in Division I Select. Evangel, standing 11th in Division II Select, potentially will host Teurlings Catholic from Lafayette in the first round, while BTW will travel to Lafayette to face Northside. Calvary Baptist, No. 3 in Division III Select, will get a first-round bye as well. 

The Non-Select situations look to be more clear as three teams from Bossier Parish will make the playoffs. Bossier will win District 1-4A again and will claim the district point. The Bearkats look to be the third seed in Division II Non-Select and will have a first-round bye. In Division I Non-Select, Airline and Parkway will be the playoff qualifiers. If Parkway remains at No. 27, the Panthers will face perennial playoff power Ouachita. Airline is projected to play Hahnville on the road. The last game of the regular season should help to solidify things.

Looking forward to recapping the girls’ first round and discussing the boys’ playoff pairings next week in the SBJ Prep Hoops report. 

Contact Preston at or Twitter handle @peedee1906

The SBJ Prep Hoops Report – V. 11: Girls’ teams decide district titles

The regular season for the girls’ teams around the state ends this Saturday. Here in Shreveport-Bossier, all of the district battles have been decided as Parkway clinched its district championship with a victory over Benton Tuesday. Add that to Huntington and Loyola and the three district champs will be waiting to see their playoff matchups early next week.

On the boys’ side of things, the second half of district is carrying on much like the first. However, there are still some important games left and we dare not try to predict anything here on the SBJ Prep Hoops report. In this volume, we will look at what happened on Tuesday, what the weekend has in store, and the possible playoff matchups for the girls’ teams in the area.

District 1-2A tries something new

Wednesday night, the boys of District 1-2A followed the lead of the girls’ teams by having a tournament to determine the district winner. Calvary Baptist and Loyola got a first-round bye as they were the top two teams in the district. Three-seed Green Oaks defeated D’Arbonne Woods by 50 in Game 1 of the tournament. In Game 2, North Caddo (the fourth seed) defeated Lakeside 86-46. These wins set up the semifinals of the tournament as Green Oaks will face host school Loyola at 6 p.m. and North Caddo will face top seed Calvary Baptist in the nightcap.

Battle of the Boot Classic

The Woodlawn Knights will host the Battle of the Boot Classic this weekend. This classic pits teams from south Louisiana against north Louisiana teams from district 1-4A. The opening game of the classic will pit Anacoco (No. 2 in Division V Non-Select) against Division II Select No. 11 Evangel. BTW will host Division II Non-Select No. 2 team Iowa in the second game. Closing the night will be the contest between Woodlawn and Division III Non-Select No. 11 Marksville. The action will begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Girls’ potential playoff pairings

With district winners decided in Shreveport-Bossier, we will take a look at potential playoff opponents for qualifiers in the area. Starting in district 1-5A, No. 2 seed Parkway is looking at a bye for the first round in Division I Non-Select. Only 28 teams will make the bracket, so the top four seeds will earn first-round byes.

The Lady Chiefs of Natchitoches Central are projected to face-off against former 2-5A district member Ruston. No. 14 Benton will host a home game and as of today is projected to play the Neville Lady Tigers from Monroe. Haughton and Airline are projected to hit the road for their first-round games. Haughton is projected to play Dutchtown while Airline would travel to Thibodaux.

On the Select side of the district, Byrd is the highest seeded team and looks to host McMain in the first round. Southwood is projected to face a familiar foe in Mt. Caramel on the road and Captain Shreve would travel to Baton Rouge to play Liberty. The top eight teams on the Select side will receive first-round byes.

District 1-4A will see district winner Huntington receive a Division I, first-round bye. Northwood would need some help as it looks to slip into the playoffs. The Lady Falcons’ win Tuesday night over BTW may help them qualify. In Division II Select, the Lady Lions of Booker T. look as if they will travel to Alexandria to face Bolton.

In District 1-2A, the district point that Loyola won will possibly give the Lady Flyers a home game against Capitol from the Baton Rouge area. Calvary Baptist, the other district qualifier, may face either St. Mary’s or Pope John Paul II.

Freshman and JV Champions crowned

The Bossier and Shreveport freshman and junior varsity leagues crowned champions last weekend (Bossier) and Wednesday night. Captain Shreve claimed both crowns in the Bossier league with the freshmen going 15-0 on the season. In the Shreveport league, BTW claimed the freshman championship and Huntington won the JV title. The future appears to be bright for these three programs going forward.

Our next volume will focus on the girls’ playoffs and recap the weekend action as we look to the end of the season. 

Contact Preston at or Twitter handle @peedee1906

The Shreveport-Bossier Prep Hoops Report – V. 10: Playoffs approaching

It is the first weekend of February and that means that the playoffs are right around the corner for the prep basketball teams in the Twin Cities. Girls’ district play is winding down and area teams are jockeying for position whether they are select or non-select.  On the boys’ side of things, the second half of district began this past Friday and teams are fighting to improve their standing or cement their current positioning. 

This week, in Volume 10 of the SBJ Prep Hoops Report, we will look at the district races and what certain teams need to do to secure their spot in the playoffs.

District 1-2A has a clear leader 

The Calvary Cavaliers have sewed up District 1-2A with victories over everyone in the district.  They will finish their season against various opponents from higher divisions.  Loyola and Green Oaks are still fighting to host a playoff game so the way they finish the season is critical.  The Giants may benefit points-wise if Southwood continues to win in District 1-5A.  We will see that play out in this last month of the season. 

On the girls’ side, the Loyola Lady Flyers are undefeated in 1-2A and are wrapping up their season with tournament play at district rival Lakeside.  Winning the district may not help them garner a home playoff game.  However, it will be a great accomplishment for the Lady Flyers to play an opponent they can possibly beat in the first round. 

A lot to play for in District 1-4A 

While the Huntington Lady Raiders have a stranglehold on the District 1-4A title, the boys are still fighting for that crown.  Bossier is undefeated and Evangel has one loss at this point with each team having a district contest left with Huntington.  With the new format for how the district champion is decided, Huntington has to secure a win in both games to win the title outright.

District 1-5A is clear cut … on the girls’ side, at least 

The Lady Panthers of Parkway are getting playoff-ready by dominating the competition in 1-5A.  They dispatched the Lady Gators and Lady Cowboys by a combined 109 points last week.  Their last three games are against the other Bossier schools before they head to the playoffs. 

Southwood is still undefeated in the boys’ version of District 1-5A after a two-point win over Parkway and a 20-point rout of Natchitoches Central. They have two road tests left. The game at Byrd can be a pothole while the game against second-place Captain Shreve has the potential to be another instant classic.

If the Cowboys win out, they will be the first undefeated champions in 1-5A since Airline a few seasons ago.  Coincidentally, Southwood got some help this week in that pursuit with Airline stunning the Gators, 61-58 in overtime.  With essentially a two-game lead in the standings, things are looking good for the Pokes on Walker Road. 

Bossier League Championships this Saturday 

The Bossier League will have its freshman and JV championships this weekend at Benton High.  The top seed in the league is Captain Shreve and the Gators will play Northwood in the freshmen semifinals while their JV group will play Airline.  The times are 10 a.m. and 11:15 respectively.  The bottom half of the bracket will have Parkway’s freshmen facing the Minden/Haughton winner and Benton playing the Minden/Haughton winner in the JV division.  Those times are also 10 and 11:15.

In our next volume, we’ll highlight the girls’ teams in the area and their potential playoff foes.  There will be a lot of area teams pushing to make a mark in the playoffs.  Hopefully, the SBJ Prep Hoops Report will be right there to cover them.

Contact Preston at or Twitter handle @peedee1906

The SBJ Prep Hoops Report, Volume 9: Getting better by the week

Basketball in Shreveport-Bossier seems to be getting better by the week. On the girls’ side, 1-5A has started the second half of district and teams seem to have raised their play from the first time around. The other districts have had high quality play as well. On the boys’ side, the rankings have seen teams make moves because of their performances on the court. In volume nine of the SBJ prep hoops report, we will review what happened last weekend and Tuesday while looking forward to the weekend coming.

First Place Established

Last Friday saw first place in district 1-5A be decided for the boys and the girls with games in both cities. Over in South Bossier, Parkway used a massive second-quarter run to gain separation as the Lady Panthers defeated the Natchitoches Central Lady Chiefs by 26. In similar fashion, Southwood held Captain Shreve to two points in the second quarter to build a massive lead.

They had to hold on in the second half for dear life, but the Cowboys garnered a one-point win (48-47) over the Gators to give them the district lead.

The Extravaganza Classic

Five local teams participated in the 2nd annual Extravaganza Classic at Calvary Baptist, where Southwood had the toughest turnaround. After battling Captain Shreve for the district lead, the Cowboys had to play 2-5A stalwart Ouachita at noon. Sparked by another Jeremiah Evans double-double, they defeated the Lions 41-36 to tip-off the day. The Evangel Eagles were on deck next and they used double-digit efforts by four of their five starters to defeat Sterlington from district 2-3A by 16 (69-53).

Bossier took the court next against an always tough Rayville team from district 2-2A. The Bearkats followed their leader Tahj Roots and pulled off the 60-56 victory against one of the toughest teams in Louisiana. Calvary Baptist had the most entertaining game of the day with the Southside Sharks from Youngsville. Rondae Hill found Ronald “Bubba” Strong for a three-pointer to put Calvary up 47-45 with 7.5 remaining. The Cavs defended well and came out with the win against the Sharks out of district 3-5A.

Huntington and defending 5A state champion Zachary closed out the night. Huntington ended up taking the L as the Broncos fought and scratched without their top player, Brandon Hardy, to defeat the Raiders 60-55.

Movement in the Power Rankings

After the Cowboys’ big weekend, they become the third area Select team in the top 10 as they move into the 9th position. Wins over Captain Shreve and Ouachita on consecutive nights will do that for a team. Captain Shreve and Huntington still hold positions in the top ten in Select Division I. Calvary is the 3rd-rated team in Select Division III and Evangel holds steady at 9th in Select Division II. On the Non-Select side of things, Bossier is the 4th-rated team in Non-Select Division II.

In the girls’ rankings, Parkway is the highest rated Select or Non-Select team as the Lady Panthers are No. 2 in Division I, Non-Select. They are the only area team in the top 10.

Special performance

There are rare nights that you see a high schooler have it on automatic all night. However, that is what we saw from Benton’s Greg Manning in the Tigers’ district win against Airline. Manning had it going from inside and outside as he scored a game-high 41 in the Tigers’ 61-56 win over the Vikings.

Weekend Play

This weekend begins the back end of the 1-5A district schedule for the boys’ teams. Calvary Baptist has a big 1-2A district battle with Green Oaks on Friday before heading to Baton Rouge on Saturday to play the Zachary Broncos in the Charger Classic at Madison Prep. District 1-4A will continue district play with some teams playing district games. The girls’ teams in the area will march closer to the close of district play in the area with games on Friday. 

Contact Preston at or Twitter handle @peedee1906

The SBJ Prep Hoops Report — V. 8: Friday 1-5A showdowns

Hoops in the Port City are really on fire right now.  The matchups on the girls’ and boys’ sides have been highly competitive and the district play has been intense no matter the outcome.  This volume of the Shreveport-Bossier Journal Prep Hoops Report will preview big weekend games and recap some of the action local teams have had the prior week.  Basketball, right now, is as fun as it gets in the area, and we aim to give it to our followers the best way possible. 

Big Friday in 1-5A 

Friday night has two matchups that will determine who is in first place in District 1-5A.  On the girls’ side, Natchitoches Central will visit Parkway in an attempt to tie the Lady Panthers for the district lead.  Parkway won the first contest between the two by 30.  The Lady Panthers’ 1-2 punch of Chloe Larry and Mikaylah Williams may be too much.  However, the Lady Chiefs have won seven of their last eight.  They are a different team than in their first district game.  The fireworks will start at 6 p.m. Friday. 

The boys from Captain Shreve and Southwood are on a collision course Friday.  Both enter on winning streaks and both are undefeated in district.  The winner will have the upper hand going into the second half of district play.

Shreve has not allowed over 40 points during an eight-game winning streak.  In fact, the Gators have won 11 of their last 12.  Southwood has a seven-game winning streak of its own which includes a win over previously-undefeated Avoyelles Charter.  The Ranch on Walker Road will be in a frenzy Friday night at 7:30. 

Weekend extravaganza 

Mal Mundy and Hoopfest Tours bring together area schools and schools from northeast and south Louisiana to compete at Calvary Baptist in the 2nd annual Extravaganza Classic on Saturday.  This year’s edition has local flavor from beginning to end with five area teams competing.  Southwood will have a tough turnaround from Friday’s battle with Captain Shreve as the Cowboys are the first contest of the day at noon.  They will face Non-Select No. 7 Ouachita.  Evangel will be the next team up as it plays another Monroe stalwart, the Carroll Bulldogs. 

The host team, Calvary, will meet the Southside Sharks from the Lafayette area.  Both teams will be looking to add to their resume with a win in this one. The Bossier Bearkats will follow against the Rayville Hornets, who are the 4th-rated team in the Division III power rankings.  This game should be an up-tempo contest with great guard play.  Wossman and McMain from New Orleans collide in the game which follows the Bearkats and Hornets.

Closing the action will be Huntington as the Raiders face two-time 5A champion Zachary.  This battle between select and non-select top five teams will be a big game, to say the least. 

District play begins in 1-2A 

District 1-2A finally is beginning league play.  Calvary opened up with a win against the Loyola Flyers.  The Cavaliers will play Lakeside Friday night in their second district contest.  Green Oaks opened district play with a 40-point win over Lakeside.  The Giants will face North Caddo in their next district game in an attempt to go 2-0 in district. 

Area teams play in the MLK Classic

In celebration of the Martin Luther King holiday, three area teams traveled to Lake Charles to participate in the MLK Classic.  Calvary lost a two-point game to Lafayette Christian on Night One in Lake Charles.  LCA has the state’s No. 1 player in the 2024 class (as reported by Prep Hoops) in Kameron Williams.  Evangel used a 21-point first quarter to defeat East Ascension on Day Two.  Southwood defeated previously-undefeated Avoyelles Charter on Day Two with a 25-point, 15-rebound game by Jeremiah Evans.  Each team represented our area well. 

Next week we will highlight the weekend that was, the weekend that will be, and important district games in the area. 

Contact Preston at or Twitter handle @peedee1906

Raiders prevail over Bearkats in another 1-4A classic

RAIDERS HANG TOGETHER:  In a high-caliber matchup at Bossier, Huntington’s Raiders stuck together for a gritty win.  (File photo by PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports)

By PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports

Bossier is back in District 1-4A, where Huntington has ruled, after dropping down to 1-3A for three years. That makes Shreveport’s boys basketball heavyweights district rivals once again.

So, needless to say, Jan. 17 had probably been circled on both teams’ schedules. However, with the composition of District 1-4A, Tuesday night’s battle at Bossier High was actually a non-district contest. 

Confused? You’re not the only one. Historically, 1-4A teams have played each other twice and that determines who is top dog in the district. This year, only one of the contests that the Bearkats and Raiders play will be an actual district game.

No matter if it was officially a district or non-district battle, the stakes were high in this one. A win would provide a boost in the LHSAA power rankings. Bossier is presently No. 4 in the Division II, Non-Select power rankings, and the Raiders are currently fifth in the Select power rankings for Division I. 

In other words, this game was important whether it moved a digit in district standings or not.

Bearkats coach Justin Collins acknowledged that.

“Traditionally, Huntington and Bossier are very good games,” he said. “As a coach, you want the challenge as much as you can get it.”

Collins hit the nail on the head as Tuesday night’s game was another classic added to these two teams’ storied history. Chris Carpenter made 4 of 5 free throws down the stretch and the Huntington defense clamped down on Bossier paint touches to leave with a 62-59 victory. 

The Raiders moved to 16-6, and Bossier dropped to 11-9 — though against a murderous schedule.

After the victory, Huntington coach Mack Jones had good things to say about his squad. 

“Great team win tonight,” Jones said. “Guys really stayed focused. Down by eight, our seniors showed a lot of character. Great environment for basketball tonight. Hats off to Coach Collins and the Bearkats. They pushed our guys for 32 minutes.”

Huntington assistant coach Errol Pipkins praised the players as well and offered a key to the final score. 

“We had too many empty possessions. We had to get the ball to the big man (Decedric Webb) and we had to get stops,” he said.

Getting stops and getting Webb involved were key in pulling out the triumph. Bossier constructed an eight-point lead before Webb got going. His team high of 20 was sparked after the Raiders made a concerted effort to get him the rock. He scored on four of five consecutive possessions to keep Huntington within striking distance until the Raiders came together and clamped down defensively in the fourth. 

During the first half, Huntington looked disjointed and the Bearkats took full advantage. Tahj Roots, who scored a game-high 21, was hot from three and the other Bearkats pitched in. Bossier led by three at the half.

These teams will meet again in “real” district play on February 10 at Huntington.

On the girls’ side of this doubleheader, the Lady Raiders poured it on Bossier, 68-23. Kyndal Graham, Huntington’s freshman point guard, scored 33 points. The win improves the Lady Raiders’ record to 16-6; Bossier remains winless on the year. 

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Prep hoops report, Volume 7: Delving into 1-5A, 1-4A district play

January is now in full gear as both of the school districts in the area have returned to school. With a return to school, that means the basketball action is definitely back in full swing. As we close the previous weekend from the games at the 83rd Bossier Invitational, we delve into district play in 1-5A and 1-4A. This volume of the Shreveport Bossier prep hoops report will focus on the start of district play along with the power rankings. We will see what local teams are making moves in both areas.

Big Games from the Bossier Invitational

The two marquee games from the Bossier Invitational were the Thursday night rematch between Calvary and Huntington and the Saturday night contest between Bossier and Calvary on Saturday night. The Cavs won the rematch with Huntington on a steal and buzzer-beating three by Rondae Hill. Saturday night was controlled by the Bearkats as Tahj Roots and Javon Johnson poured in 47 combined points as they defeated Calvary by 20.

1-4A District Play Begins

Booker T. Washington and Woodlawn opened up district play this past Friday. The Lady Knights ended up pulling out the win in a close game while the Lions of BTW won the boys’ matchup by double digits. Business picked up a little bit Tuesday as Huntington and Northwood began district play. The Falcons took the loss in this contest which helped Woodlawn to even its record at 1-1. On Rasberry Lane, the girls and boys defeated BTW in both games by double digits to obtain their first district wins.

1-5A Continues to Roll On

The girls of 1-5A have almost completed their first round of district. Parkway is undefeated but the Lady Panthers have only played three district games. The Benton Lady Tigers are right behind them, though, with a 4-1 mark. Those two teams will face each other on Friday night at Parkway. The Lady Chiefs are also 4-1 with their only loss coming to the Lady Panthers. They will play host to the Airline Lady Vikes on Friday.

The Southwood Lady Cowboys are still winless in district and have taken yet another blow. Seniors Minnie Williams, Shay Pratt, and Allena Milton have left the team, leaving coach Cindee Clark with a band of freshmen and sophomores to finish the season. Hopefully they can regroup. Their once-sure chance of making the playoffs has taken a drastic turn.

On the boys’ side of 1-5A, Captain Shreve and Southwood are undefeated through three games. Both teams will look to extend their winning streaks on Friday as they both host home district games. Southwood will host longtime rival Byrd while the Gators will face Haughton.

The shocker in this district, so far, is that Airline is winless at this point. Despite losses to Haughton and Parkway, the Vikings will look to garner their first district win as they travel to Natchitoches Central on Friday.

Power Rankings

Captain Shreve and Huntington seem to flip flop weekly in the Division I, Select power rankings. The Gators are currently 5th followed by Huntington at 6th. Southwood is 21st and looking to improve its stance while Byrd and Northwood are 29th and 30th, respectively.

In Division II Select, Evangel has slipped out of the top ten to 11th. The Eagles are followed by BTW at 16 and Woodlawn in the 23rd position.

Division III Select sees Calvary at the third position and Green Oaks, North Caddo, and Loyola all falling within the top 20.

In the Non-Select divisions, Airline is the highest rated team in Division I at 17 and Parkway follows at 24th. Bossier is 3rd in the Division II, Non-Select power rankings.

On the girls’ Non-Select side of things, Parkway is the No. 2 rated team. Natchitoches Central, Benton, and Airline all fall within the top 16. Haughton rounds out the group in the 22nd position.

Huntington remains a top 5 team followed by Southwood (17th), Byrd (20th), and Captain Shreve (22nd).

Select Divisions II and III have no team rated above 16th. However, the girls’ teams in these divisions still have a ton of games to improve their position. 

Contact Preston at or Twitter handle @peedee1906

Weekly SBJ Prep Hoops Report, Volume 6: Midway through the season

Happy New Year everyone! The beginning of the New Year means we are at the midway point in the high school prep season. When the high school hoops turn the calendar to 2023, that means district play is right around the corner.

With one of the largest districts in the state (1-5A) and one of the most competitive districts (1-4A) in the area, it means the high school gyms will be red hot with action. The SBJ prep hoops report, here in volume six, will be here to cover it all. From the finals of the “Doc” Edwards to district play in 1-5A and beginning of the Bossier Invitational, we got your back.

“Doc” Edwards tournament winners

Huntington won the finals of the “Doc” Edwards tournament with a 79-70 victory over the Bossier Bearkats. The Raiders have bounced back from their trip to Madison Prep and found some pep in their step. Senior guard Trey Carter was the tournament MVP. He shot the lights out from behind the arc during the three-day tournament.

On the girls’ side, Benton made it to the finals but was upended by the Lady Tigers of Gibsland-Coleman 50-43. Sophomore Samora Sampson and her teammates gave all teams trouble as they dispatched three 1-5A teams (Byrd, Airline, and Benton) en route to the title.

District 1-5A on the girls’ side

Probably the most surprising thing three games into the girls’ battle for District 1-5A is that the Southwood Lady Cowboys are winless. They took their third loss on Tuesday to Parkway.

While the result may have been a forgone conclusion, the fact that the young Lady Cowboys only scored 10 points is a bit concerning. Jermisha Frierson has left the program and while Minnie Williams has been holding her own, the rest of the ladies have to help her out.

Other winners from Tuesday’s district contests were Benton (defeated Byrd), Haughton (defeated Airline), and Natchitoches Central (defeated Captain Shreve).

1-5A boys open district play

The boys’ teams in 1-5A had their district openers on Tuesday night. Captain Shreve is the defending district champion and the Gators began their repeat quest on the road at Natchitoches Central — where they defeated the Chiefs 43-32. Southwood survived two late Parkway shot attempts with two blocks by Jeremiah Evans to secure the 60-58 win. Benton secured a 10-point win over Byrd. Trey Smith and Greg Manning combined for 33 in the win. Haughton won its district contest, surprising Airline at home 63-57.

The 83rd Bossier Invitational

The 83rd edition of the Bossier Invitational has gone away from the tournament format and now plays more of a showcase-style format. Two games opened night one of the invitational as Loyola played Red River and Bossier hosted District 1-4A member Evangel.

Flyers Cage Van Norman and Caleb Burch made key free throws in the end of the game to defeat Red River 58-50. In the nightcap, Tahj Roots poured in 17 for Bossier as the Bearcats defeated Evangel 68-43. Despite a cold shooting night for the Eagles, Brayln Clark finished with 15 — scoring all points in the second half.

Tomorrow will see a total of three games. Red River and Minden will lead off everything at 4 p.m. They will be followed by Deridder and Evangel at 5:30 and the rematch between Calvary and Huntington at 7 p.m. All games will be played at Bossier High.

Teams of the Week

The Huntington Raiders were highlighted earlier for their victory in the “Doc” Edwards tournament. Those wins have helped them win eight of their last 10, which has them sitting 5th in the latest DI power rankings by the LHSAA.

On the girls’ side, there is no team hotter than the Lady Tigers of Benton. They have won 10 of their last 12 and are presently sitting at 14th in the Non-Select power rankings with a 13-7 record. Opening District 2-1 helps also. We will see what the Lady Tigers have going as district play continues. 

Contact Preston at or Twitter handle @peedee1906

The Shreveport-Bossier Prep Hoops Report, Volume 5: tourney time

As we approach the new year, in Shreveport-Bossier basketball, holiday tournaments are the focus of the area teams. 

Historically speaking, every area team used to participate in the CNB Times Classic to prepare for their district season.  While that tournament is gone, others have emerged to fill that holiday need. 

In this edition of the Prep Hoops report, we will focus on the holiday tournament schedule in the twin cities and the other places our teams are playing during their holiday break. 

The Doc Edwards Tournament 

Nine area boys’ teams and seven girls’ teams from Shreveport-Bossier are participating in this post-Christmas staple.  Day 1 was competitive as the teams in the twin cities found ways to pull out first-round wins. 

On the boys’ side, top seed Captain Shreve defeated Ringgold 52-16.  Host team Airline beat the Loyola Flyers 72-63 behind 42 combined points by Colby O’glee and Kevin White. 

Huntington handled Class C state champion Gibsland-Coleman 70-46 and Bossier defeated crosstown rival Parkway.  Benton won a thriller over Booker T. 43-41 and Northwood lost to perennial 2A power Lakeview 55-39. 

These victories set up some interesting second-round meetings today.  Lakeview and Huntington will begin the day at Airline followed by Airline and the Minden Crimson Tide.  Bossier and Benton will meet at 3 o’clock with the winner facing Captain Shreve in the semifinals at 7:30 in Benton while the other winner will play their semifinal at Airline. 

In the girls’ division, host team Airline will face Haynesville in the second round following convincing first-round wins by both teams.  C.E. Byrd lost to Gibsland-Coleman in a tight matchup.  The Lady Jackets will face Winnfield in a 9 a.m. tip at Cope Middle. 

BTW lost a close one to Homer 41-39.  The Lions will face the loser of the Benton-Logansport matchup at Cope as well.  The Haughton Lady Bucs had a convincing win over St. Mary’s from Natchitoches.  They will face the Northwood-Zwolle winner at noon in Benton. 

Area teams playing elsewhere 

The Southwood Lady Cowboys and Huntington Lady Raiders began their week in West Monroe playing in the Sidney Smith Invitational.  Southwood went 1-1 during the first two days.  The Lady Cowboys defeated Carroll 40-31 and lost to Albany 46-32.  Huntington won its initial contest with Ponchatoula on Tuesday and faced Carroll on Wednesday afternoon.  The Lady Raiders will face defending Class 3A champion Wossman today in what should be a must-watch game. 

The only area boys’ team playing in the Sidney Smith Invitational is Calvary Baptist.  The Cavs will face Neville from District 2-4A today followed by a contest with Ruston from District 2-5A on Friday. 

The Evangel Eagles will hit the road to play in the Big 10 Classic at Scotlandville High on Saturday.  They will face Liberty in a 2 p.m. matchup to kick off the day in Baton Rouge. 

We will look forward to an interesting weekend as the Doc Edwards concludes and we look forward to next week as the Bossier Tournament/Invitational kicks off at Bossier High. 

Contact Preston at or Twitter @peedee1906

Shreveport-Bossier Prep Hoops Report: Plenty of holiday action

T’was the week before Christmas and all through the city, there were round balls bouncing on the hardwood and district and tournament play aplenty….

Seriously, the holidays bring about a time for families to gather. If high school hoops are being played, that is a time for families to go and support their sons, daughters, nephews, and nieces who play. Shreveport-Bossier has plenty of hoops going on before Christmas Day. In this edition, we will talk about the past and present before we take a basketball break for Christmas.

Road Warriors? Not so much 

In recent history, the top boys’ teams in District1-4A have been Huntington, Woodlawn, and Booker T. Washington. All three took their act on the road to the Rumble on the River hosted by Madison Prep. The teams in south Louisiana were rude hosts as the three local teams went 2-5 on the weekend. Woodlawn went 0-2 and BTW was 1-1, beating East Ascension by 20. Huntington took two of its biggest losses to the Chargers and Catholic-Baton Rouge. The Raiders lost each game by 20 or more. All three teams will have to shrug off the disappointment if they plan on seeing these south Louisiana squads later in the playoffs.

Captain Shreve continued its winning ways, gaining a W over Lake Charles College Prep as the Gators went 2-0 in DeRidder. Southwood went 1-1 in Ruston and C.E. Byrd ended the Midland tournament at 2-1. The Lady Raiders split their two games at Walker, defeating Ruston and losing to Albany.

Ranking the area 

Tuesday saw the release of the latest power rankings in Louisiana for the Non-Select and Select classes. On the boys’ side, there was some movement in each division.

On the Select side, Captain Shreve is No. 5 in Division I followed by Huntington at 9. Southwood took the largest drop due to some of its recent losses and is now ranked 25th. The Evangel Eagles sit at No. 3 in the Division II power rankings. They are followed by Woodlawn at 16 and BTW at 18. The Calvary Baptist Cavs are the highest-rated local team in any Select classification coming in at No. 2 in Division III. Green Oaks and Loyola are also in the top 25.

Boys’ Non-Select is a little more cut and dried. Parkway (13th) and Airline (19th) are the only schools rated in the top 20 of the power ratings.

On the girls’ Select side, all local teams are in the top 25 in their respective divisions. The Huntington Lady Raiders are the highest rated local team at No. 5 in Division I.

Non-Select is where all of the Bossier Parish schools reside. Every public school is rated 19th or higher with Parkway being the highest-rated team at No. 3.

The strength of District 1-5A in the power ratings is why…

1-5A is the best girls’ 5A district in Louisiana 

District 1-5A is the best district in the state by far. Parkway has gotten off to a 2-0 start with wins over Captain Shreve and Natchitoches Central. As a matter of fact, the only team that does not have a district win are the Lady Cowboys of Southwood. Parkway is head and shoulders the class of the district but every team will have a say before playoffs.

Big local games 

Calvary and Evangel began the week with a top tier boys’ matchup. The Cavs came out the victors, 60-46. Bossier topped Captain Shreve in a nip-and-tuck battle 51-45 at Bossier High. The biggest game left comes today when Huntington meets Calvary. If teams want to enhance their resume, these games will play a part.

Teams of the Week 

The Lady Panthers of Parkway have rattled off six of their last seven and sit at 9-4 on the season. They have won their first two district games and are as hot as anyone in the area.

For the boys, the Byrd Yellow Jackets have turned their season around before Christmas. They have won 7 of their last 8 and are primed for the highly competitive competition in District 1-5A.

Contact Preston at or Twitter @peedee1906

The SBJ Prep Hoops Report, Volume 3: 1-5A girls start district slate

Ahh, the Christmas season is upon us.  In the world of high school basketball as played in Louisiana, that means a wide assortment of tournaments and showcases for the girls’ and boys’ teams in the area.  In this edition of the Shreveport-Bossier Journal Prep Hoops Report, we will review the days of play prior and what Shreveport-Bossier has going this weekend.

Shootout at the Ranch 

Despite a scheduling mishap on Friday night, Southwood hosted local teams and others to “The Ranch” for two days of hoops action.  The Lady Raiders of Huntington had the most impressive showing with a 70-39 win over Gibsland-Coleman.  Other local teams that participated were both teams from the host school (Southwood), the Captain Shreve Lady Gators, and the BTW Lady Lions. 

1-5A girls cranking up 

Having one of the biggest districts in the state means district play begins early for the girls’ teams in 1-5A.  Byrd and Airline had a preview of what is to come during district in Doyline this past weekend, when the Lady Jackets prevailed.  All teams were to begin league play Tuesday night but the stormy weather postponed everything. Wednesday night, three lid-lifters were played:  the Lady Gators beat Southwood by six, Haughton handled Byrd by 13 and powerful Parkway more than doubled up Natchitoches Central on the road. Benton at Airline, originally set to tip Tuesday, will now be played Dec. 22.

Road trippin’ 

Many of the boys’ teams and a few of the girls’ teams in the area are hitting the road this weekend playing all around Louisiana.  Seven Shreveport-Bossier teams are playing in the 32nd Annual Car Giant Minden tournament.  Calvary advanced earlier on Wednesday with a 66-53 victory over Parkway.  Other boys’ teams participating are North Caddo, Loyola, Haughton, Green Oaks, and Northwood. 

The girls’ bracket of this tournament sees the Lady Giants of Green Oaks, the Lady Flyers of Loyola, and the North Caddo Lady Titans beginning play on Wednesday evening and night. 

The Lady Raiders will take their 7-1 record on the road to Walker, east of Baton Rouge, and play in the Walker tournament.  They will play Ruston on Friday night and Albany on Saturday. 

One of the biggest December tournaments in Louisiana, the Rumble on the River presented by Madison Prep, will play host to Huntington, Woodlawn, and Booker T. Washington.  Huntington will play East Ascension on Thursday, Catholic-BR on Friday, and close out the Saturday night session with host team Madison Prep.  The Lions of BTW will play perennial power Walker on Friday night and EA on Saturday.  The Woodlawn Knights may have the toughest draw as they play defending state champ Archbishop Hannan on Friday and Walker on Saturday. 

The Southwood Cowboys will travel east on I-20 to Ruston and play two days in the Bearcats gym.  They will tangle against Jonesboro-Hodge on Friday and Arcadia on Saturday.

Captain Shreve will make its annual trip to Beauregard Parish to play in the DeRidder Dragons’ tournament beginning Thursday.

Teams of the Week                                            

The Lady Raiders of Huntington are on a roll.  They have won seven straight this season and have been led by one of the best freshmen in the Boot, Kyndal Graham.  They have a very good chance of extending that streak to nine games this weekend at Walker. 

On the boys’ side, the Calvary Baptist Cavaliers have not lost a game in Louisiana.  They have won every game they have played in state.  Winning the Minden tournament will propel them to 10-0 in Louisiana going into the week before Christmas.  We will see how it goes this weekend. 

Contact Preston at or Twitter handle @peedee1906

Weekly SBJ prep hoops report: Volume II

Week 4 of the high school season in the area has had an exciting beginning with one of the biggest rivalries in the state on Tuesday. Various schools in Shreveport-Bossier remained hot while others hit a few minor bumps.

This week’s SBJ Prep Hoops Report will recap the weekend that was, highlight the week, and talk about the weekend to come.

The Weekend that was …

On the boys’ side, the area had a great deal of success last weekend. Woodlawn went undefeated at South Beauregard and Southwood made a semifinals run before losing to St. Thomas More at the Showdown in the Lake. Bossier lost to Lake Charles College Prep in the consolation bracket of the Showdown and Huntington went 1-1. At the Jack Clayton Invitational, Byrd picked up its first victory of the season defeating a previously red hot Evangel Eagle team.

When it comes to the girls’ part of the weekend, Airline and Southwood burned up the nets at Quitman and Northwood, as both schools finished the weekend undefeated and improved their records to 8-1. The Lady Panthers of Parkway went 1-1 at the girls’ version of the Showdown in the Lake losing to Fairview 69-68. Benton played tough teams in Denham Springs but ended the road trip winless.

A Rivalry Renewed

It is safe to say that the Huntington-Southwood rivalry has supplanted Byrd-Captain Shreve as the biggest rivalry on the hardwood and the two games at Southwood did not disappoint on Tuesday night. The girls’ game saw the return of Northwestern State signee Jermisha Frierson. While that sparked the Lady Cowboys, the Lady Raiders (riding a five-game win streak) defeated the Lady Cowboys 69-61.

The nightcap saw a battle of top 10 players in their respective classes as Huntington forward Decedric Webb and Southwood big man Jeremiah Evans locked horns. While Evans had a good showing on the boards and in scoring, it was Webb’s 12 second-half points that helped the Raiders claim the 50-42 victory.

The New Rankings are out

The latest power rankings from the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) were released on Tuesday with some area teams rated highly within the state.

On the Non-Select side for the boys, Division I sees all of the Bossier schools ranked in the top 25 with Parkway being the highest rated team at No. 3. Airline is rated 22nd and Haughton comes in at No. 24. Bossier is ranked as the 5th best Non-Select team in Division II this week.

In the girls’ Non-Select rankings, Airline is the highest rated team at No. 5, followed closely by Parkway at No. 7. Benton is ranked 25th.

The Select divisions are represented by an array of area teams. Coach Corey Dean’s Captain Shreve Gators are the third-ranked team in Division I Select followed by Huntington at No. 9 and Southwood ranked 11th. Evangel is the highest ranked Division II team at No. 8. Woodlawn and BTW are ranked in the top 25 as they are ranked at No. 23 and No. 25 respectively.

Division III sees some of the smaller schools in the area rated highly as Green Oaks and Calvary are rated 7th and 8th  and Loyola comes in at No. 17.

The top two girls’ Select divisions are also highly decorated. Southwood tops the Division I Select schools at No. 8, followed by Huntington at 11th, Byrd at 15th, Captain Shreve at No. 22 and Northwood at No. 23.

Division II Select sees the Lady Lions rated 19th  overall followed by the Lady Knights of Woodlawn at No. 25.

Tournaments for the weekend

There will be tournament action galore this weekend. Parkway will host six area boys’ teams in the Panthers’ invitational. Captain Shreve will travel to Alexandria and participate in the ASH tournament while Southwood will host boys’ and girls’ teams from the area and abroad during the Showdown at the Ranch. The BTW boys will head to Zwolle and the Byrd girls will be at Doyline.

Teams of the Week

The Southwood Lady Cowboys are 8-2 after early-season turmoil and a coaching change to Cindee Clark. Winning the Northwood tournament was a plus for this young team. The Evangel Eagles have won five of their last six games and will look to begin another winning streak as they play in the Parkway Invitational. They are 8-4 on the year. 

Contact Preston at or Twitter handle @peedee1906

Welcome to the weekly Shreveport-Bossier Journal Prep Hoops Report

As we round up Week 3 of the high school basketball season in Shreveport-Bossier, the action on the hardwood has been hot and heavy. Most of the schools in the twin cities have gotten off to hot starts on both the boys’ and girls’ sides. 

Here in the weekly SBJ Prep Hoops Report, we will talk about who is streaking, what happened this week, and give readers a feel of what the weekend holds.

Milestone victory 

Tuesday night was a special night in the city as coach Mack Jones of Huntington was honored for achieving his 700th win last week in the Raiders’ contest with Loyola. He achieved the milestone by defeating Airline during the David Bryant Classic. The Journal’s John James Marshall wrote an excellent story spotlighting Jones in Tuesday’s edition – use the search feature to enjoy it.

Road trippin’ 

Six boys’ teams in the area will take their act on the road this weekend. Captain Shreve will play in the Carroll tournament as the Gators try to maintain their momentum after wins over 1-4A teams Bossier and Woodlawn. 

Bossier, Huntington, and Southwood will travel to Lake Charles to play in the Showdown in the Lake.  Each team has a chance to play on Saturday night in the final. They can also come out of this event winless facing perennial powers Wossman, Madison Prep, and ASH. 

Woodlawn will make its annual trip to South Beauregard and Airline will take a drive to Texarkana to face Texas High on Saturday after a Friday night tilt with Class B powerhouse Simsboro.

Right here at home 

The Haughton Bucs are hosting Evangel, Parkway, Byrd, Minden, and Plain Dealing in the Jack Clayton Invitational, which concludes tonight.  Minden, Evangel, and Haughton took victories on night one.  Byrd is still looking for its first victory of the season and will try to get it against either Plain Dealing or Evangel.  The Eagles can go undefeated for the week with three wins in Haughton.  Green Oaks, BTW, Loyola, and Calvary girls and boys will all rest this weekend as they all played on Thursday night.

On the girls’ side, Northwood is playing host to area teams in its tournament.  Southwood has played well without Northwestern State signee Jermisha Frierson, who tweaked an ankle but should be back soon, possibly for the Huntington game.

Minnie Williams has guided the Lady Cowboys, leading them in scoring against BTW on Tuesday and Mansfield on Thursday. They will play in the semifinals Friday night against either Captain Shreve or North Caddo.  The top half of the draw has host Northwood, Haynesville, Plain Dealing, and Green Oaks. All tournament games will conclude Saturday.

Girls hit the road 

The Parkway Lady Panthers continue their hellacious schedule as they participate in the girls’ version of the Showdown in the Lake.  They have potential foes such as Fairview, Wossman, Rosepine, and Lafayette.  While the Lady Panthers went winless during games against out-of-state foes, they have pretty much dominated in-state competition.  We will see if they make the championship on Saturday in the Lake.

Airline, Benton, and Byrd are also road warriors this weekend as they travel to various parts of the Boot.  Byrd will play in the Doyline tournament, Airline will head to Quitman, and Benton will head down south to play in a tournament at Denham Springs.

Teams of the Week 

The C.E. Byrd Lady Yellow Jackets are 5-2 to begin the season and have won five of their last six games. 

As far as the boys’ side of things, Captain Shreve has rattled off four straight.  Depending on how they do at Carroll this weekend, they can run that streak up to seven.

Next Thursday, we will recap the weekend and highlight some of the top games next week on the SBJ Prep Hoops Report.

Contact Preston at

Unbeaten Lady Pilots begin four-game road stretch in Oklahoma

MAKING PLANS:  The LSUS women’s basketball team takes instruction from coach Matt Strickland (kneeling, left center) during one of the Lady Pilots’ two wins last weekend. (Photo by PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports)

By PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports

After going 2-0 in the LSUS Classic over the Halloween weekend, the LSUS Lady Pilots will hit the road for their next four games.

The road stretch begins tonight in Oklahoma City, where the Lady Pilots will meet Mid-America Christian University before going to Langston, Okla., for a Saturday game against Langston University.

Next week, the Lady Pilots will be in Texas for games against Texas Wesleyan University (Fort Worth) on Thursday, Nov. 10 and Dallas Christian College on Friday, Nov. 11.

They will return to The Dock on Nov. 18 for a 5:30 game against Southeastern Baptist College.

In the LSUS Classic – held for the first time after a brief hiatus due to the pandemic – the Lady Pilots hosted HBCUs Dillard University, Philander Smith, and Langston University, conference foe LSUA, and the University of Mobile in a two-day, three-game format that saw each team compete against a formidable foe.

LSUS closed both sessions of the Classic with wins – a 74-65 victory over the University of Mobile and 61-52 over Dillard University.

“We had some really good teams in The Dock competing,” LSUS head coach Matt Strickland said about the LSUS Classic. “We were able to get two hard fought wins against Mobile and Dillard.

“Our players were locked in and excited to start the season. I was pleased with our defensive effort and physicality and our ability to execute on offense. We will clean some things up and prepare for the two road matchups.”

The Lady Pilots are also incorporating a ton of new talent as well into their program. Unlike the men who have 11 new players on their 12-man roster, the ladies have eight new faces to go with their five returning players. Strickland is excited about the additions to the program.

“I thought the new additions to the team got off to a great start in their careers here at LSUS,” he said. “Our two point guards, Alexis Brown and Tiarra Tillison, have made a huge difference this year pushing the pace and putting pressure on the defense.

“Destanee Roblow was a force inside the paint on both ends of the floor and Tyquanna Ross led us in scoring against Mobile and is really good attacking downhill. With our returners who have a lot of experience and the mix of new players, we have a chance to be successful this season and compete at a high level.”

LSUS shot 44 percent from three-point range on the weekend and averaged a shade under 50 percent from the field. Ross led three Lady Pilots in double figures against Mobile while Tahjea Smith and Tatym Barnes came off the bench and scored 12 points each in the win over Dillard.

Philander Smith was the only other team to go 2-0 on the weekend. Langston and Dillard each finished 1-1 and Mobile and LSUA left the classic 0-2.

New players Pilot LSUS over Centenary as hoops tips off

 IN-CITY SHOWDOWN:  The local college basketball season tipped off Tuesday night as LSUS (white jerseys) hosted Centenary. (Photo by PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports)

By PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports

The contest was tabbed as the “Shreveport Showdown” by the public address announcer Tuesday night at The Dock.

Others probably saw it as a chapter in a crosstown rivalry.  Whatever you call it, whenever Centenary and LSUS hook up, it usually brings out the city and a ton of excitement to go with it.

For both teams, the 2022 version of the Shreveport Showdown served as a way for the new-look Pilots and the Gentlemen of Centenary to start the season on a good foot.  While this game was an exhibition for the Gents, it gave them a good test to prepare for the season.  On the other hand, LSUS saw the game as an opportunity to move to 1-0 with a brand-new team.

While they got off to a slow start in the first 20 minutes, the Pilots outscored Centenary by 18 in the second half to walk away with a 91-82 victory.

Natchitoches Central alum CJ Carpenter poured in a game-high 29 points, 21 in the second half. He had help from his fellow newbies Jalen Brooks, Stacey Thomas, and Jordan Decuir as they scored 14, 13, and 12 points respectively. 

Centenary was led by newcomer Jerrick Baines (a Bismarck State College transfer) and returning all-conference performer Seth Thomas, each scoring 21 points. 

Centenary coach Chris Dorsey liked much of what he saw from the Gents, and was impressed by the Pilots.

“I was proud of the way we competed and the toughness our team showed,” he said. “LSUS is  very skilled as a team and they are tough to defend.  We played great team defense tonight.”

LSUS’ Kyle Blankenship echoed Dorsey’s sentiments, complimenting Centenary by saying that the Gents took them out of a lot of their sets in the first half. He said the Pilots looked like a squad trying to put together a lot of new pieces.

“We’re a brand-new team and our starting point guard was out with a concussion, so we went point guard by committee. We struggled offensively and defensively we looked even worse,” said Blankenship. “We were more aggressive defensively in the second half.”

Blankenship was asked about the Natchitoches Central backcourt duo of Devonte Snow and Carpenter. They brought their customary defensive intensity from their NCHS days to the contest and Blankenship thought highly of it. 

“They are tough guys in the backcourt.  They added a toughness to our team that I think we needed.”

Both coaches thought highly of their freshman contributors as well.  Gents freshman Quinton Beverly scored 12 points in his debut while the four Pilot freshmen who hit the floor combined for 20 points, led by Decuir and his 12 points. 

The game began with Centenary looking like the more seasoned team for the first time in recent series history.  In the opening 20 minutes, the visitors shot 70 percent from behind the 3-point stripe and held the Pilots to 47 percent from the field, including only 17 percent from distance.  Baines and Thomas scored 10 points apiece as they carried the Gents to a 47-38 lead at the half. 

But the Pilots turned the tables afterward with a 53-point second half and cooled off Centenary’s shooters, securing the win.

Centenary will play another exhibition contest at UL-Lafayette before officially beginning the season with a home tilt against Arlington Baptist next Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 7 o’clock.  The Pilots will host Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) Nov. 10 at 6.

The Summer of Mikaylah Williams: It’s her world (and we are all just walking through)

I remember what it was like to be a teenager during these hot summers in Shreveport-Bossier. It was all about hanging out. Going to summer school (for the fun of it), summer league games, and hanging out at McDonald’s. Average teen stuff.

For Mikaylah Williams, nothing is average about her summer.

Don’t get me wrong, Mikaylah does average teenage stuff. She always has her phone. She hangs out with her teammates and friends and she spends time hitting I-20 to watch her little brother Kaleb (an incoming Parkway freshman) play basketball. That’s about as normal as it gets though.

Williams, a soon-to-be Parkway senior, has not had a “typical” teenage summer in a while. As a matter of fact, her summers are ones that we mere mortals dream about.

Last summer, Mikaylah was part of the USA, U18, 3×3 team that brought home a gold medal from the FIBA World Cup. This summer, she is spending time with USA Basketball again as a part of the U17 National team that is vying for the FIBA Women’s World Cup. That’s right! Williams is attempting to win her second gold medal in as many summers.

She and her teammates are off to a good start as they are 3-0 in group play thus far. In those two games, Williams is averaging 8.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in roughly 18 minutes of play. Team USA will look to be the last team standing July 17 when the tournament concludes, equaling the feat of the U17 men as they captured gold this past week. 

For many players, that would be the highlight of the summer. Playing for the United States is considered one of the highest honors imaginable for any athlete.

Again though, we are not talking about an average teenager.

We are talking about the nation’s No. 1 high school female basketball player in the Class of 2023. So, anything she does is newsworthy. Case in point, on June 24 when she dropped a subtle bomb on the prep basketball world, her summer became A-typical again.

With a video featuring childhood pics, clips of her training, and moments with her family, Williams announced to the world that she was committing to LSU.

Not since the early to mid-’90s when Randy Livingston out of Newman in New Orleans committed to play for LSU has a player had as much fanfare. Honestly, Livingston is probably the only state player to equal Williams in accomplishments BEFORE playing for the Tigers.

So, when I say it is Mikaylah Williams’ world, it truly is. When school begins in the fall, she will graduate in the top 10 percent of her class (ranked 20th out of 316) while working to bring Parkway that elusive state championship. Honestly, we better pay attention as we walk through Mikaylah’s world. We may never see the likes of her in Shreveport-Bossier ever again.

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Grassroots hoops and Shreveport-Bossier should be the perfect couple

Before Bossier High’s rise and the Bearkats’ return to greatness, or Mikaylah Williams being justifiably heralded as the No. 1 girls’ prep player in the nation, Shreveport-Bossier was one of the pinnacles for high school hoops in the South.

Back in the days of the CNB Times Classic, teams from all over the state, and various parts of the country, came here to play. The competition here was some of the best anywhere. But hey, the high school historians in the area can tell you that.

The same thing should be said about grassroots or AAU or summer travel basketball. Whatever you call it, Shreveport-Bossier should be a hotbed for it.

There has been only one thing stopping Shreveport-Bossier from being a hub for grassroots hoops, however— a facility worthy of holding these contests.

Well, that was a problem. Last week’s report in The Journal about the renovation project to convert Expo Hall into a multi-sport, public facility is the game changer that Shreveport has needed for grassroots.

This indoor sports facility will bring teams, competition, and tourism dollars to the area. You want the high school basketball players to get better in the area and gain more exposure? Hosting regional and national grassroots tournaments for them to participate in has now become a tangible goal.

Those who believe the concept is far-fetched obviously do not know or have yet to see what Shreveport-Bossier can offer the grassroots basketball community. It’s not hard to see. Just open your eyes.

We have Interstate 20 which is one of the main interstate exchanges in America. Shreveport Regional Airport is highly serviceable and numerous teams can fly in from different areas. We actually have teen-friendly entertainment venues, if people are worried about something for the kids to do when they’re not on the court.

Mix all of these assets with the high number of quality basketball players and teams in the Ark-La-Tex, add the short distance that teams from Oklahoma and Mississippi would have to travel, and Shreveport-Bossier has the makings of one of the best places to play grassroots basketball, period.

I know, I know. We will always have pushback from the “too much crime” crowd. However, we find a way to host baseball and softball tournaments all summer, the largest slow-pitch softball event in the south, and even the nationally-televised Independence Bowl. So, you’d have to come up with a bigger argument than that.

In reality, I am aware that we will continue to send our teams and our money to Fort Worth, Dallas, Ruston, and other places. The athletes in the area need to be exposed to other areas and have other life experiences. However, there is no place like home! Getting to compete with other high profile basketball players from around the country, at home, would be a major plus for our local athletes.

Now, let’s welcome influential entities like Prep Hoops, the Under Armour circuit, Adidas, and even Nike to northwest Louisiana.

The recently restructured Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission should be making plans to gain the ear of these grassroots entities with target dates in tow. Once the renovated Expo Hall opens, the benefits to the athletes and the area will be boundless.

Grassroots basketball and Shreveport-Bossier are a couple made in hoops and economic heaven. Now we just need to see if it can be a marriage that can last a lifetime.

After $4.5 million renovation, Expo Hall will be indoor sports venue