Ferriday, and Monterey's girls basketball teams host first-round playoff games Thursday, while Delta Charter and Vidalia are on the road.
Vidalia senior Devin Green is joining his former coach, while Viking teammates Demond Crumpton, and Cam’Ron Randall will be part of the very first Lafayette Community Christian College, a new member of the NJCAA.
Roderick Ransom of Vidalia, Nykell Brooks of Delta Charter and Kobe Dillon of Ferriday are the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Miss-Lou Chapter nominees for 2019.
Vidalia High School's Lady Vikings have struggled the past few years, averaging four wins over the past nine years.
The Lady Vikings won six games last year, earning a playoff spot for the first time since 2001.
But the Lady Vikings are no longer a doormat, winning their third straight contest Monday, defeating Delhi Charter 44-22 Friday in Vidalia.
"I believe in this team, but they have to believe in themselves," said first-year Lady Viking coach Tema Larry. "We are starting to jel now. We just need to get some wins this week to finish in a good position for the playoffs."
Jada Poole led Vidalia against Delhi Charter with 16 points, while Kaya Washington and Jamya Smith added 10 each.
The Lady Vikings fell to Madison 47-42 Monday in Tallulah in a make-up game.
Jamya Smith led Vidalia in scoring.
The Lady Vikings are now 10-11, the most wins since posting a 9-16 record in 2005. Vidaila is sitting at No. 31 in the Class 2A power rankings, which is where they finished last year.
The Vidalia boys fell to Delhi Charter 71-56.
"We played well in the second and fourth quarter, but we still need to play a complete game," said Vidalia boys coach Robert Sanders. "And we're still having trouble rebounding."
RayJay Ransom led Vidalia with 25 points, while Curtis Washington added 19.
The Viking boys fell to Madison 94-32 Monday.
Vidalia hosts Rayville Friday in its final game of the season.
The girls playoff bracket will be released Sunday.
Ferriay’s Lady Trojans rebounded from a loss to Rayville on February 4 with a convincing 65-23 win over Mangham Friday in Ferriday.
“I think we learned from the Rayville game and we came out more focused,” said Lady Trojan head coach Lisa Abron, whose team is now 20-4, is sitting at No. 8 in the Class 2A power rankings.
The loss to Rayville snapped an 18-game winning streak for the Lady Trojans.
Ferriday’s girls made sure there would be no losing streak Friday, jumping on Mangham 29-7 in the first quarter and extending its lead to 46-13 at halftime.
“I think in some ways that loss helped bring us back to reality,” Abron said. “We just need to stay focused until the playoffs, and get even more focused then. We still have a lot of areas we can improve on.”
Shekayla Miller led Ferriday with 19 points.
Aaliyah Gray added 13 points, while Tamia Jefferson added 11.
Ferriday’s boys avenged an earlier loss to Mangham with a 76-71 win over the Dragons Friday.
“That was a good, hard-fought win,” said Ferriday boys coach George Barnes. “We needed that one. And it showed us where we are and what we are capable of doing.”
Derrick Carson Jr., led the Trojans with 27 points.
“He had a breakout game,” Barnes sad. “He played big.”
Jamarrius Johnson added 12 points for the Trojans, while Derrick Johnson added 10.
Ferriday hosts Beekman Charter for its Senior Night game Friday.
Delta Charter split a pair of games at Sicily Island Friday, with the girls cruising to a 60-26 win while the Storm boys fell 66-56.
Delta Charter's girls led 8-5 after one period and 35-17 at halftime.
"We're still not getting four quarters out of the girls," said Delta Charter girls coach Ronald Ellis. "We have to play tougher. We're playing too soft."
Cloi Cummings led Delta Charter with 24 points, while Shyvlie Blaney added 20.
The Lady Storm are sitting at No. 21 in the Class A power rankings.
"We've got tough games remaining, but we need to finish strong," Ellis said.
Delta Charter's boys fell to Sicily Island 64-56.
"It was probably our second-worst game of the year," said Delta Charter head coach Geary Crawford. "We missed 13 free throws, which is not like us. It was just a bad night. We didn't play team ball and didn't hustle."
The Storm led 19-14 after the first period, but Sicily Island cut that lead to 28-26 at halftime.
The Tigers outscored the Storm 17-13 in the third period and 21-15 in the final quarter.
Delta Charter is sitting at No. 21 in the Class 2A power rankings.
"We have to execute, that's the bottom line," Crawford said. "We can play with anybody. As long as there is time on the clock, we believe we can pull it out."
Delta Charter hosted Delhi Tuesday night. Those results are in the A section.
The Storm closes out regular season play Thursday at home against Cedar Creek.
Monterey High’s boys outscored Glenmora 7-4 in the second overtime to defeat the Wildcats 52-49 Friday in Monterey.
“That was some kind of ballgame,” said Monterey boys coach Eric Richard. “It wasn’t always pretty, but both teams played hard. Baskets were hard to come by. It was physical at both ends. We were resilient and found a way to win.”
Monterey’s Trey Boyd hit a 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining that sent the game into overtime at 43-43.
Both teams scored two points in the second overtime.
“We missed some free throws that could have clinched it then,” Richard said.
Ethan Clark led Monterey with 15 points, while Boyd added 14.
“That was a huge win for us,” Richard said.
Monterey’s girls defeated Glenmora 55-45 to move into a tie for first place in district with the Lady Wildcats.
Monterey led 16-13 after one quarter and 27-19 at halftime.
“We missed some free throws early in the fourth quarter, but made them late when we needed to,” said Monterey girls coach Cary Shively. “The girls executed well on offense and played good defense.”
Andy Gray led Monterey with 18 points, while Harlie Murray added 14 and Allie Lipsey 13.
Jada Boults scored eight of here 16 points in the final period for Glenmora.
Monterey is sitting at No. 8 in the Class B power rankings.
The Wolves host Oak Hill Friday. The girls brackets will be released Monday.
So I wrote a column last August stating a new sports year was upon us, adding my calendar does not go by the year (e.g. 2019). It goes by the school year (2019-2020).
And I asked who knew what to expect this school year?
Let’s face it. So far so good. But if you are being really honest with yourself did you really expect LSU to go 15-0, have a Heisman Trophy winner and bring home a national championship?
Man, I can’t wait for the rest of “this calendar year.”
Bring on March Madness. Well, it certainly cannot get much maddening than it did last year with the Will Wade reality show.
LSU could win the national title if games lasted 35 minutes.
Judging by how men’s basketball has gone so far this season, it’s anybody’s game.
Of course, you can count on Kentucky making a run. Auburn has been impressive. while teams like Florida, Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas could be this year’s Cinderella.
South Carolina and Mississippi State should be in the mix once again in women’s basketball.
Baseball certainly looks promising with defending national champion Vanderbilt returning a solid squad.
Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Auburn and Florida are in the preseason top 10, while Paul Mainieri will have LSU competitive.
In softball, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee and Arkansas should once again contend for a spot in the College World Series.
And will this finally be the year for D.D.Breaux to capture the gold? If not, Florida, Alabama and Georgia certainly are in the mix.
I expect the SEC to once again lead the nation in football attendance.
For the past 21 consecutive seasons, the SEC has been better than the other conferences by nearly 10,000 per game and 1.1 million overall edge over its next closest conference.
The SEC Championship Game between drew 74,150. That may be a little down from the 77,141 that saw Alabama beat Georgia in 2018, but still ranks well above other championship games.
SEC baseball has led the nation in attendance 24 years in a row. Total attendance in 2019 surpassed 2.2 million and no other conference reached the one million mark.
SEC women’s basketball has led the nation in attendance four years in a row.
Football has been the most dominant when it comes to the national championshipa.
With LSU’s title run, there have now been 25 national champions from the SEC.
Alabama won the title in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2017.
Auburn and Cam Newton took top honors in 2010, while Florida and Tim Tebow were tops in 2008.
LSU has won it all in 1958, 2003, 2007 and 2019.
LSU’s gymnastics team finished second last year. Florida won it all in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Alabama was back-to-back gymnastic champions in 2011 and 2012.
Arkansas won the men’s cross country title seven times for 1991 to 2000.
Florida has won the men’s indoor track title the past two years
Arkanas’ women won the outdoor title last year and in 2016. LSU won it all in 2008 and 2012. Florida’ outdoor women’s team won it all in 2016 and 2017, while Georgia won it all in 2018. Vanderbilt won its second baseball championship in five years last year. Florida won it in 2017, South Carolina in 2010 and 2011. LSU had six national titles from 1993-2009.
So what’s ahead for the SEC?
It’s going to be a wild four months. And if 2019-20 has taught us anything, be sure to expect the unexpected.
With four seniors and five juniors, Monterey baseball coach Patrick Wells is excited about his third squad for the 2020 season.
The Wolves finished 8-10 last season, falling to Bell City in the first round of the playoffs.
“We were real young when I took over, but now it’s our time to shine,” Wells said. “We’ve got a good group that has really grown up.”
The seniors are returning first team all-district players Jacob Spinks and Cooper Roach, along with Dawson Thompson and Tailor Farris.
“Cooper is coming off surgery from last year, so I will be using him as a designated hitter early in the season before putting him at shortstop,” Wells said.
Spinks signed a baseball scholarship with Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
Spinks said his fastball, which peaks at around 89, is his favorite pitch.
“When Jacob gets out of school, he runs home to get something to eat and then he’s back working out or in the batting cage,” said Monterey baseball coach Patrick Wells. “He has a great work ethic.”
Juniors are Ethan Clark, Mason Wells, Charlie Tarver, Daylen Gray and Aidynn Harper.
Joining Spinks on the mound for spot duty are Clark, Ferris, Kerry King and Wells.
“We’re eager to get started,” Wells said. “The guys have been doing a lot of work on their own. We’ve got more games this year, so we’re expecting better things.”
Ever wonder what it’s like to wear an LSU backpack on Louisiana Tech’s campus?
My buddy Josh Welch lived that experience while attending Louisiana Tech as a student. And yeah, he got some responses you might expect. How about the clean version?
“Why didn’t you go to LSU then?” “Why are you wearing that (junk) on campus?”
While I believe his backpack apparel in some ways crosses a line — picture a fellow classmate donning LSU memorabilia in a Louisiana Tech classroom — I don’t believe my friend is in anyway disloyal for being an LSU fan.
I couldn’t help but recall that story in the last month, though. After hearing from several Louisiana Tech fans in the past about their dislike for LSU and fans in Northeast Louisiana who support the Tigers. I’ve often thought about the proper etiquette for students and fans alike who attend a different university. And I’ll be blunt — I vehemently disagree with takes suggesting you should drop your loyalties on a dime when you attend a certain school. Because fandom doesn’t’ work that way.
And my buddy is the perfect example. Since I’m putting my comrade on blast here, I figured I’d give him the opportunity to explain why he wore an LSU backpack on Tech’s campus during his time there, or better yet, let him explain why he felt it was OK to be an LSU fan while attending Louisiana Tech as a student.
“Because you go to college for an education,” Welch said. “Your rooting interests are formed the time you’re a kid watching sports. It would be incredibly weird/dumb to not root for the team you’ve always rooted for because you didn’t end up going to that college. In my situation, I had many friends going to Tech, had a full-ride and my brother was renting a house there and had a room available. So it made sense to go and avoid dorm life when I only knew one person going to LSU.”
Sounds reasonable enough, no?
Just the other day I felt the need to share my opinion on the subject, as I kept seeing the same tweets over and over from diehard Louisiana Tech fans condemning fellow students for rooting on the Tigers in the national championship game.
I tweeted the following, “You don’t become a fan when you’re 18. Most of us lived and died by our teams’ wins and losses when we were 10, when sports mattered more than everything else in life. Can’t turn that passion off because of a college choice.”
A former colleague challenged me on this issue. Bret McCormick, who used to write for The Town Talk in Alexandria and is a hardcore Louisiana Tech fan, respectfully tweeted back at me saying he would never understand how I could root for a school I never attended.
And my response to that pointed out the fact that there were several reasons that impacted me decision to go to Nicholls State. Sure, I wanted to attend the college I rooted for all my life, but life threw me a curveball.
Now don’t get me wrong — I love my school. I’m thankful for how small it was and how it allotted one-on-one time with professors who helped me develop my craft so I could one day write and talk about sports for a living. That might not have happened as swiftly if not for Nicholls, and I’m forever grateful. But four years at a university cannot supplant a lifelong passion built on the foundation of a father-son relationship. I think many can identify with that as most of us are drawn to our team by geography and the passion of our parents and grandparents.
Rooting for LSU when I attended Nicholls also didn’t affect Nicholls. I can’t hold Nicholls to the same standard as LSU in athletics. It’s simply unrealistic, as both schools have entirely different goals.
And this might be the most controversial thing written in this entire column — Tech nor ULM fans can hold their athletic programs to the same standards at LSU. Otherwise you’ll always be disappointed, and not because the athletic programs are inferior. Look at the year Louisiana Tech just had in football as an example. Let’s play with some hypotheticals here. What if certain players weren’t suspended for two crucial conference games and Tech finds a way to win those two contests and the Conference-USA Championship Game. Maybe, just maybe, the Bulldogs become the highest ranked Group of Five and get to play Penn State in the Cotton Bowl Classic. Or let’s say Tech defeated Texas and ran the gauntlet undefeated. Are the Bulldogs making the playoffs in the current format?
UCF went undefeated in 2017, claimed a national title and then went undefeated again in the 2018 regular season and still didn’t even come close to sniffing the College Football Playoff. Fair or not, that’s how college football works.
So, in theory, it’s impossible to hold Louisiana Tech, ULM or any other Group of Five school to the same standards as a Power Five school that’s always going to be given the benefit of the doubt in these rankings.
And because of that, I think it’s just fine to root for your school and root for LSU if you grew up a diehard fan. Support your school. I beg you. But also understand that for diehard fans, like myself, you simply can’t turn off lifelong fandom.
Delta Charter boys coach Geary Crawford wasn't satisfied with his team's play at the end of the first quarter against Ouachita Christian Tuesday in Ferriday even though the Storm led 19-17 against the bigger Eagle team.
When Zion Williamson said “Let’s Dance” to New Orleans at last year’s NBA draft, we had no idea fans would literally be dancing in their seat for his heavily anticipated debut in January.
Monterey High swept a pair of games from Cathedral in Natchez Thursday as the Lady Wolves cruised to a 54-32 win, while Monterey's boys rallied and then held off a late Green Wave rally for a 48-45 win.
Vidalia High's softball teams looks to build off a season in which the Lady Vikings finished with the most wins since 2015 before the No. 19 Vikings fell to No. 14 Lakeside 4-0 in the first-round of the playoffs.
We have a new portrait of confidence. Joe Burrow in shades in front of 15,000-plus people in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center with his arms behind the back was a picture worth a 1,000 words Saturday morning in Baton Rouge.