D-I still feeling Hornets’ sting

Two things you can say about the Louisiana High School Athletic Association holding separate basketball playoffs for Select and non-Select schools are (1) the Select teams have higher seeds when one subtracts the non-Selects, and (2) it really doesn’t matter because Scotlandville’s Hornets have been and still are  the class of the state’s highest classification. That’s been the case for a decade.

The final power rankings entering the boys’ Division I playoffs reveal that Scotlandville, with its 31-2, record is the No. 1 seed.

That is hardly a surprise because the Hornets have ruled the division since separate playoffs have been the norm since 2017. They won the Division I title over Brother Martin, 53-52, that year and repeated as champion in 2018 via a 63-40 rout over a talented, senior-laden St. Paul’s squad.

Scotlandville had been the team to beat since 2010. Brother Martin did so that year by a scant 55-54 score. St. Augustine followed with a 5A title by beating the Hornets, 67-43, in 2011.

But Scotlandville has taken home the championship trophies in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018 and has been runner-up in 2014 and 2016. 

And as the boys enter the 2019 playoffs, the No. 1 seed in Division I is – you’ve guessed it – SCOTLANDVILLE.

There are 13 boys’ teams in Division I. The top three (1. Scotlandville, 2. St. Augustine and 3. Holy Cross) will have byes through the first two rounds.

But five games will be played in that round, matching No. 9 Byrd and No. 8 John Curtis, No. 12 Archbishop Rummel at No. 5 Catholic of Baton Rouge, No. 13 Evangel at No. 4 Jesuit, No. 11 Archbishop Shaw at No. 6 Brother Martin, and No. 10 McKinley at No. 7 St. Paul’s.

What might have been

Jump back to the top of this column. Consider a common playoff and how it would have affected the Select schools.

Scotlandville’s position at the top doesn’t change. But No. 2 St. Augustine would drop to No. 5 behind non-Select Thidodaux, Ouachita and Walker.

No. 3 Holy Cross slips to No. 6, Jesuit to No. 8 behind Bonnabel  and Catholic to No. 9. 

While all of the above would host first-round games in a 32-team combined bracket, Brother Martin, St. Paul’s, John Curtis, Byrd, McKinley, Shaw, Rummel and Evangel would not qualify for the playoffs. Martin would be the highest seed of the bunch at No. 34.

The final Division II power ratings list De La Salle as the No. 2 team behind University Lab. 

The Cavaliers earned that spot after defeating Donaldsonville, 52-38, for the District 10-3A title on Feb. 15.

Archbishop Hannan (18-13) is the No. 8 seed in this 18-team division, and St. Charles Catholic (11-16) enters the playoffs as the No. 12 seed.

Now throw all 61 Class 4A and 3A teams back into the mix, and the numbers change drastically.

No. 1 University Lab becomes No. 8 and sits behind Sophie Wright, Peabody, Wossman, Madison Prep, Abbeville, Donaldsonville and Lake Charles Prep in a combined bracket. And although De La Salle is the district champ, Donaldsonville has a higher seed than the No. 9 Cavaliers.

Hannan drops to No. 20 and would be among the schools traveling in the first round, while St. Charles fails to qualify for the playoffs at No. 36.

Pope John Paul II holds the Division III select No. 10 seed. The Jaguars would rank No. 36 in a common Class 2A playoff.

With the sum of all that information in mind, do you favor separate playoffs for Select and non-Select schools? 

Ask the low seeds who will spend hundreds of dollars to travel across the state to lose by 30 points to higher seeds in the early rounds.

Ron Brocato can be reached at rbrocato@clarionherald.org.

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