This was a week to remember. Not just for players and coaches for a half-dozen basketball teams from Northeast Louisiana. But, for the people that couldn’t watch them play.
On Friday, the LHSAA announced that “non-essential staff” would not be allowed to view any of the title tilts taking place. That includes thousands of fans and spectators.
While a quite Burton Coliseum was a different feeling for each of the teams, they were forced to play on without them.
While catching up with LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine, he said, ” … No fans in here, which stinks, but I’ll be the first one to admit. But, at the end of the day, we’re still trying to crown champions. Some of these seniors will never play again … “
On the hardwood, Saturday was a tough day for a trio of area prep squads. Wossman, Simsboro and Lincoln Prep each lost their respective finales.
The Wildcats dropped a 62-61 heartbreaker to Bossier. The team committed 25 fouls, allowing the Bearcats to finish 80 percent from the charity stripe. For Nick Traylor, he experienced pain when falling the Class 3A Championship last season – he went through the same this year.
“This hurts more this year, because I’m not going to able to come back next year, ” says Traylor.
The Tigers were edged in overtime by Doyline, 85-83. They were denied of their third consecutive championship. The Panthers’ bench outscored Simsboro’s by 10 points. In the fourth quarter, Josh Brown’s team shot 37 percent, while the opposition connected 54 percent in that period.
“Came down to the last minute, and we didn’t make plays, ” says Brown.
Unfortunately, Lincoln Prep met a similar fate. The Panthers fell to defending 1A champ, North Central, 81-65. In his final high school game, Chanse Robinson scored 32 points. Freshman sensation Fred Payne ended with 11. 22 turnovers hurt the team. The Hurricanes took advantage of that and scored 23 points off of those mistakes.
“I told them before the game started, we need to limit turnovers. And, we lost the turnover battle, ” says Lincoln Prep head coach Antonio Hudson.