The Doyle and French Settlement basketball teams have played themselves into the playoffs.
Now it’s time to see what they can do with it.
Class 2A No. 7 Doyle hosts No. 26 South Plaquemines at 6 p.m. Friday, while No. 28 French Settlement travels to No. 5 Franklin for a 7 p.m. game.
“We’re excited about our opportunities that are in front of us and the seeding that we got,” Doyle coach Daniel Kennedy said. “We’ve got a chance to play at home, so we’re excited.”
The Tigers enter the playoffs on a two-game losing streak.
“(We) just sat them down and told them, ‘Hey, I thought the last week-and-a-half of our season that we really weren’t mentally dialed in,’” Kennedy said. “We’ve been working since August. We’ve been practicing for seven months, and it comes down to one game at a time. If you can do that for two weeks, that means you’re going to be in the Top 28.”
Meanwhile, French Settlement is in the playoffs for the first time in six years.
“None of them have been in the playoffs before in basketball, so we’re definitely excited and enjoying that we have the opportunity to continue our season and try to get an upset in the first round,” FSHS coach Jake Bourgeois said.
“I’ve been trying to tell them it’s basketball either way you look at it, and we’ve got to go out there and we’ve just got to play the game,” Bourgeois said. “We’ve got to do the things that we’ve been doing all season, and we’ve got to do them better, and we’ve just got to turn up our intensity a few notches, because we know they will, especially at home. We’re kind of taking an us against everybody kind of outlook on it because being the 28 seed, not many people think we can go out there and win, so we want to kind of take the underdog role and take it and use it as fuel and motivation …”
The games are part of a four-game playoff schedule featuring Livingston Parish teams. In Class B, No. 16 Holden hosts No. 17 Florien at 6 p.m. Friday, while No. 30 Maurepas travels to face No. 3 Hathaway at 6 p.m.
South Plaquemines at Doyle
South Plaquemines comes into the game with a 9-20 record, but Kennedy said his team can’t focus on those numbers.
“I think the strength of their team is their athleticism,” Kennedy said. “They rebound the ball very, very well. They really dribble-drive, which creates problems, especially when you have to focus on keeping guys in front of you and then finishing out possessions by blocking out, which is not a strength of our team. That’s obviously very concerning, and they play really hard. I was impressed by watching them on film of how hard they played, and they definitely are going to present some problems for us.”
Kennedy said his team is focused on the basics heading into the postseason.
“We’re just really kind of reiterating the basics and importance of making them earn everything and finishing possessions out by getting rebounds, and offensively, we’ve got to take care of the basketball,” Kennedy said. “They’re athletic. They’re fast. They’re quick. They’re active. If you turn the ball over on offense, then you’re going to give them transition and easy points.”
French Settlement at Franklin
Franklin comes into the game with a 20-7 record after winning the District 7-2A championship.
“They’re a very good team,” Bourgeois said. “They’re super athletic. They play with great tenacity. They get after it on the defensive end. They run some zones, and they’ll look to trap all over the floor.”
Like Kennedy, Bourgeois said he’s been focused on some basics with his team.
“We’ve definitely put an emphasis the last few days on taking care of the basketball because they’re looking to force turnovers and force bad shots, which are just as bad as turnovers, so we’ve been putting an emphasis on good decision making, taking care of the basketball,” Bourgeois said. “Like we’ve talked before, we’ve kind of struggled this year when teams get out and pressure us full court and speed us up because we have some young guys that play a ton of minutes – three sophomores and a freshman, but by this point in the season, they’re all a year older already.”
Bourgeois is hoping his team’s experience playing on the road in District 10-2A will help, but again, it will come down to the basics.
“We just want to be able to take care of the basketball,” he said. “We want to be able to box out, not give them second-chance opportunities and limit our turnovers and make free throws, and we feel like if can do those things, we’ll be fine and be right there in it at the end and have a chance to get us a win.”