De La Salle boys, Cabrini outlasted local competition
Believe me when I say had Paul Kelly and his staff coached Rayville, the Class 3A’s No. 2 seed, against No. 10 De La Salle, that team would have soundly defeated the Cavaliers.
But Kelly’s De La Salle team lost the quarterfinal game last Friday to that greatly talented team from North Louisiana by a mere two points.
The difference was a blocked shot as time ran out on a 70-68 Hornets win.
De La Salle challenged its opponent, whose offense had little rhyme or reason. Rayville players charged the Cavaliers’ goal like rushing bulls, while De La Salle played smart basketball, which enabled the Cavs to lead most of the way and test the sportsmanship of the visiting Rayville fans.
Frustrated, the fans verbally attacked the Hammond officials, who had to ask De La Salle officials to post their security guard among the visitors to assure the crowd would not get out of hand.
The game marked the first time since De La Salle won the title in 1986 that the Cavaliers had advanced to the quarterfinals. They were in the Catholic League at the time they defeated Carroll, 61-59, in overtime.
For Cabrini, the third meeting against District 9-4A champion Warren Easton in the girls’ semifinal round of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA tournament semis was hardly a charm.
During the season, Easton had defeated its district opponent by four and two points. But in the semis, inside a nearly empty Burton Coliseum, Easton pulled away late in the game to take its 39-1 record into the finals, while Cabrini’s hopes for a title were dashed.
Coach Nancy Walsh was confident her Crescents were prepared for whatever the Eagles offered and was looking forward to leading the school to its first state title since 2004 when Coach Tony LaBella sat in her chair.
The defining factor was Easton’s experience. The Eagles had been there before, losing to Salmen for the 2014 title. They were not looking past Cabrini, but had Salmen’s number and pulled out a 46-42 victory and the 4A title.
But the best may be yet to come for the Crescents.
Although they lose 5-11 center Kyla Williams and point guard Erin Temple, Walsh will have three key players leading the team next season, including the Clarion Herald Elite Team’s MVP, junior Rakell Spencer, who scored 24 points and had 12 rebounds in the semifinal round game.
Also back are sophomore starter Kelsie Pinera and freshman Rayven Patin and six reserves who will have a season’s experience.
Lots going on
Basketball wasn’t the only sport to have a frenzied finish.
Two Covington schools were recently crowned Division I soccer champions.
No. 1 seed St. Paul’s repeated as the boys’ champion by blanking Jesuit, 3-0, on Feb. 28.
Earlier in the day, St. Scholastica defeated the No. 1 seed, Mount Carmel, 3-1, for the girls’ crown.
Barrick Roberts of St. Paul’s earned Outstanding Player honors after scoring twice. Courtney Robicheaux, who also scored twice and assisted a third goal, was the girls’ Outstanding Player.
Kudos are in order
➤ By winning an unprecedented fourth consecutive state title, Brother Martin wrestler Paul Klein earned the Allstate Sugar bowl’s co-Outstanding Player of the Month honor. Klein, who completed his prep career with a 165-8 record, is the first wrestler in 71 years of Louisiana tourna-ment to accomplish this feat.
➤Holy Rosary High’s Alex Dupuy bowled an 813 series this season, which, according to the New Orleans Advocate, may be the highest series rolled in LHSAA history.
What’s amazing about this athlete is that Dupuy, a sophomore, has survived a rare form of tongue cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma.
A successful surgery removed 50 percent of his tongue and lymph nodes from his neck last year, making the 16-year-old cancer-free.
Dupuy bowled an 811 series in 2014. And he has two more years to better his marks.