The Doyle girls basketball team has spent a good part of the season as the No. 1 team in the Class 2A power rankings. Now the Lady Tigers head into the postseason with that lofty position still intact.
Doyle was the only team from Livingston Parish to garner a top seed when the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s girls basketball playoff pairings were released Monday, but that doesn’t mean the parish isn’t well-represented as all nine of the parish’s schools made the postseason.
“We started the season thinking that we definitely should be a top-tier team, obviously, but the No. 1 spot, well that just feels really good,” Doyle coach Sam White said. “The girls did a really good job of making sure that we won the games we needed to win and that we did our job to get there and to maintain it, which was no easy task. (Class) 2A is full of really great teams.”
Doyle will host its opening-round game at 6 p.m. Thursday at Doyle Elementary.
Elsewhere among the parish’s smaller schools, Albany garnered a No. 3 seed and will host No. 30 Jennings at 6 p.m. Thursday.
“Any time you can garner the body of work to gather a top-four seed, and put yourself in a position to be at home for three playoff games, is always a plus,” Albany coach Stacy Darouse said. “We are hoping for the best and preparing to travel. We’ve traveled before, and there’s always the possibility of an upset, so if there is, we’ll be ready. But we’re certainly in a position to have three home games, so we’re excited about that.”
The rest of the Class 2A bracket has No. 16 French Settlement hosting No. 17 Avoyelles Charter and No. 23 Springfield traveling to face No. 10 Martin Luther King Charter. Both of those games are at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The winners of the Doyle-Jeanerette and FSHS-Avoyelles games will meet in the regional round.
Elsewhere, Holden will get a chance to defend its Class B state title, entering the playoffs with the No. 6 seed and hosting No. 27 Negreet at 6 p.m. Thursday.
“Early in the season, who would have thought we’d have gotten a six seed?,” Holden co-coach Pam Forbes asked with a laugh. “Because we fell on our faces sometimes, but I felt like the girls regrouped. We did a really good job of that. We finished strong with our season. After around Christmas, we started playing together, started clicking, had games where we looked really, really good.
“We are excited to be a six seed. We’re excited to be able to host a playoff game. We don’t know anything about them (Negreet), so that’s going to be kind of weird. Usually in Class B, you know a whole lot about people you’re playing. They’re not traditionally a strong playoff team, but it’s the playoffs. Anything can happen.”
Maurepas is No. 22 in Class B and travels to face No. 11 Lacassine at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The winners of those two games will face each other in the regional round.
Jeanerette at Doyle
White said she doesn’t know much about Jeanerette but knows her team will have a target on its back heading into the postseason.
“I always thought that if you’re the No. 1 team, everybody’s looking to kind of go get you, which is a very real thing, but that does no mean that you can’t go ahead to do what it is you’re supposed to do,” White said.
White also said her team’s approach to the postseason won’t change from the regular season.
“We are uptempo,” she said. “You know that. We try to play super aggressive defense and aggressive offense as far as running the floor, and just try to do that well. That’s what’s gotten us to this point, so no need to back off of it now. Try to take care of us and hopefully the end will be what we want it to be.”
Jennings at Albany
Jennings comes into the postseason with a 17-19 record, but Darouse said that doesn’t mean much as the Lady Bulldogs competed in District 4-3A with Iowa, L.C. College Prep, South Beauregard, St. Louis, Washington-Marion and Westlake.
“They’re athletic,” she said. “Their win-loss record is kind of deceiving. They haven’t won a lot of games, but they play in a super tough district. Their non-district schedule’s been tough, so we’re not looking at win-los records. We’re going to have to play good basketball. You play good basketball or you go home at this point.”
Albany has won seven of its past nine games, and Darouse said some keys for the Lady Hornets have come in the way of rebounding, defensive and the team learning to play together in different rotations.
“We’ve been better on the boards lately,” Darouse said. “When we can control the boards and win the rebounding battle, we’re always going to be a lot better off than if we don’t, so that’s definitely been a plus.”
Negreet at Holden
Like some her coaching counterparts, Forbes is trying to find any information she can on her team’s first-round opponent.
“I don’t know a whole lot about them,” she said. “I know they play a lot of kids, and I know they’ve got to travel a long way. I know they play in a traditionally strong district. They’re in the same district with Stanley and Florien, so I know that they’ve played a lot of good teams, and it’s the playoffs, so all it’s about is survive and advance, so that’s our whole goal.”
Forbes said the flu has hit the school’s campus, but no basketball players have been sidelined because of it.
She also said Madeline Richardson has a sprained MCL but is hopeful she’ll gain medical clearance in time for the game.
“She goes to the doctor (Tuesday), so we’ll find something on her,” Forbes said of Richardson. “She goes in the morning, so keep your fingers crossed, and hopefully she’ll be ready to play.”
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