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If you ask West Ouachita girls head coach Jimbo Murphy, the Lady Chiefs’ opponent Friday night has a legitimate chance of winning it all.

Don’t ask his opponent, West Monroe, about that, though. It’s far too early for championship talk, especially in a district that boasts four teams in the Top 16 of Class 5A.

Two of those teams are West Ouachita (12) and West Monroe (13), who will square off at West Monroe High at 6 p.m.

“Everybody and their brother and sister better show up Friday night because they’re older and more athletic than we are,” Murphy said. “They have a chance of winning the whole thing. We need to be aggressive and we need to be consistent in that. Show up and play. We cannot get into foul trouble or have any injuries. We’ve got to play smart and hang around.”

The Lady Chiefs enter the contest with a 20-3 record, but (14-7) West Monroe is coming off of two impressive wins in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Classic.

The Rebels defeated Sulphur, 55-40, and topped Warren Easton, 44-38.

“With us starting district against West Ouachita, it’s great to play against these really big teams to find out what we need to get better at,” West Monroe head coach John Green said. “We haven’t done that this late into the season before. On that bus ride home, we got to really have a conversation about our positives and negatives.”

West Monroe got off to a rough start to the season due to injuries, but since the week before Christmas have racked up impressive wins like the one against Ponchatoula, who was No. 4 in Class 5A heading into the tournament, despite suffering a 47-40 loss to West Monroe at West Monroe High School two weeks ago.

Ponchatoula avenged that loss to the Lady Rebels in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Classic.  

After already attaining 20 wins this season, Murphy’s team has already met a preseason goal, but why stop there? Despite West Ouachita’s youth, Murphy wants to see his team compete with the upper echelon in the district. And that begins Friday against a stout West Monroe squad.

Award-winning sports writer for columns and features since joining the field in 2013. As the first-ever featured columnist of the month at Bleacher Report, Martin cut his teeth with online media before joining the newspaper business in 2014.

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