By Ron Brocato, Clarion Herald
The 2017-18 high school basketball season may not be logged in the annals as a banner one for local Catholic schools’ boys’ teams, but for the talented seniors and underclassmen who earned spots on the Clarion Herald’s Elite Boys’ Team, the campaign wrote their personal success stories.
The most successful of those schools was St. Paul’s, whose 28-6 record includes wins over 2017 Division II champion De La Salle in the Allstate Sugar Bowl/CYO Classic championship game, and District 6-5A rival Slidell, which defeated the Wolves earlier in the season.
In his second season as head coach of the Covington Catholic school, Stephen Dale fielded the best team in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Led by the Elite team’s Player of the Year Parker Edwards and fellow senior Elite team members Devonte Allen and Chandler Owenby, the Wolves gained the No. 2 seed in the Division I playoffs for select schools. With that seeding came a free pass to the quarterfinal playoff round.
Jesuit, represented by junior guard Elijah Morgan, earned its spot in the quarterfinals by defeating Evangel, 57-47, in the regional playoff round. Jesuit is a No. 5 seed.
De La Salle, represented on the Elite Team by sophomore sensation Abiram Frye, is the No. 3 seed in Division II.
The Cavaliers, who won all eight of their District 10-3A games, entered the playoffs as the District 10-3A champion. The 2017 team was also a No. 3 seed when it won the Division II crown.
This season was more difficult as the Cavaliers’ 18-10 record indicates. But their pre-district opposition was outstanding, including eight opponents that won 20 or more games and were champions of their respective districts.
St. Augustine, winner of the Catholic League (District 9-5A), was led by talented senior point guard Bryson Celestine. The Purple Knights (23-10) entered the playoffs as the No. 6 seed.
Junior guard Jason Chan earned his position on the Elite Team for his all-around play for the third-place Tigers (20-12) and the No. 8 seed.
Archbishop Rummel drew the No. 9 seed in Division I, behind the all-around play of senior Aaron Brulé. A linebacker on the Raiders’ football team and Mississippi State signee, Brulé sparked Rummel to an 18-14 record, behind his scoring and rebounding skills. He made the Raiders a better unit when he joined the team in mid-season to earn a spot on the Elite Team.
Brother Martin provided two exceptional players to the Elite Team – senior guards Tyler Lally and Tyler Epps. Both were outstanding shooters and exceptional defensive players.
Behind the efforts of its senior standouts, Brother Martin posted 16 wins and gained the No. 10 tournament seed.
Archbishop Hannan’s junior guard Norris Williams returns to the Elite Team, on which he made his debut at the end of his sophomore season in 2016-17 season.
Having missed several games this season with an injury, Williams’ absence affected the Hawks’ overall record of 11-17, which drew a low No. 13 seeding. But when he returned, Hannan won seven of eight District 7-3A games to claim the league championship.
Photos by Ron Brocato | CLARION HERALD
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Senior Parker Edwards (32) led St. Paul’s to a 28-6 record by averaging more than 26 points per game. The 6-foot, 3-inch wingman has scored more than 2,000 points in his varsity career. He was named to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/CYO Classic and Rumble on the Ridge (Arkansas) all-tournament teams. He now has his sights set on leading the Wolves to the LHSAA Division I championship.
COACH OF THE YEAR: In just his second year at St. Paul’s helm, Stephen Dale coached the Wolves to a District 6-5A championship by sweeping the league opposition in 14 games. Under his guidance, St. Paul’s won the Allstate Sugar Bowl/CYO tournament and drew the No. 2 seed in the Division I championship tournament.
Abiram Frye, De La Salle
Tyler Epps, Brother Martin
Elijah Morgan, Jesuit
Devonte Allen, St. Paul’s
Bryson Celestine, St. Augustine
Chandler Owenby, St. Paul’s
Norris Williams, Archbishop Hannan
Jason Chan, Holy Cross
Aaron Brulé, Archbishop Rummel
Tyler Lally, Brother Martin