HOLDEN - The nine-member group of girls coaches from the parish agreed on two fronts Tuesday when it came to deciding the order of seeding for the 35th Annual Livingston Parish basketball tournament.
Doyle will be this year’s top-seeded team and reigning champion Denham Springs the second seed, but after that it was almost too close to call.
That was particularly the case when coaches tried to dissect the Nos. 3-6 seeds at Tuesday’s meeting – tying the No. 3-4 and 5-6 seeds in the initial round of voting – when a second count made Albany the No. 3 seed followed by Holden, French Settlement, Walker, Live Oak, Springfield and Maurepas.
“I talked to three coaches before today and we had no idea how the voting would go,” Albany coach Stacy Darouse said. “The fact there were two ties didn’t surprise me at all. Doyle is the favorite with what they’re returning experience wise, athleticism and talent. After that it’s who can put four good days together.”
The five-day tournament opens Dec. 10 at Holden High School and runs through Dec. 14 with the championship game scheduled for 6 p.m.
Doyle, which finished third a year ago, received high praise with the return of a veteran team from a Class 2A state quarterfinal unit.
The Lady Tigers are off to a 5-0 start heading into Friday’s homecoming matchup with Holden.
“It’s an honor to get the No. 1 seed in this parish because it’s such good girls basketball parish,” Doyle coach Samantha White said. “On any given night I feel like any of us can win it. We’re all very similar.
“That’s why it was such a hard time voting,” White said. “Everyone’s on an even playing ground. I was glad to get the No. 1 seed but by no means is it going to be a cakewalk at all. We’re going to have to scratch and claw our way to actually make that happen.”
Doyle’s scheduled to play at 6 p.m. Thursday against the first-round winner between Springfield/Maurepas, who play at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Holden faces French Settlement in a first-round matchup at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Doyle’s in search of its first parish title since 1997. The Lady Tigers captured three such crowns under legendary coach Jennifer Goodwin (1992-93-97).
“We have the experience, that can only help,” said White, whose team was the No. 1 seed in last season’s Class 2A state playoffs. “They’re highly mature. It’s a good thing and I think they’re ready to work hard for it.”
Denham Springs added its parish-best 11th championship a year ago under first-year coach Blake Zito. The Lady Jackets, who defeated Walker 54-38 in the final, meets District 4-5A foe Live Oak in a first-round matchup at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
“The fact that we’re playing Live Oak as the seventh seed is crazy in my opinion,” Zito said. “It (voting) was close. The matchups are good. It’s going to be good games. We joked that we could do this after the tournament it might look different.”
Albany, which lost to Doyle in last year’s third-place game, meets Walker at 3 p.m. in Wednesday’s first-round contest. The Lady Hornets, who have won six parish titles, last captured a parish crown in 2003 under coach Karen Hoyt.
“I don’t think seeding matters a lot this year,” Darouse said. “It’s just a matter of who plays best that day.”
2019 Girls Livingston Parish Tournament schedule
At Holden High School
3:00 p.m. – Springfield vs. Maurepas
6:00 p.m. – Holden vs. French Settlement
3:00 p.m. – Albany vs. Walker
6:00 p.m. – Live Oak vs. Denham Springs
3:00 p.m. – Springfield/Maurepas loser vs. Holden/French Settlement loser
6:00 p.m. – Doyle vs. Springfield/Maurepas winner
3:00 p.m. – Albany/Walker winner vs. Denham Springs/Live Oak winner
6:00 p.m. – Doyle/Springfield/Maurepas winner vs. Holden/French Settlement winner
9:00 a.m. – Albany/Walker loser vs. Denham Springs/Live Oak loser
12:00 p.m. – Consolation championship
3:00 p.m. – Third place game
6:00 p.m. – Championship game