Fairview will face Lacassine tonight in the Class B state basketball tournament at Burton Coliseum. (Rick Hickman / American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Friday, March 07, 2014 12:44 PMThe road to the Class B girls basketball state championship has gone through Fairview for the last eight years.
The latest threat to the Panthers’ throne comes from Lacassine (35-1), the same team Fairview (42-1) beat in last year’s final.
In Jeremy Hollier’s first season as the head coach at Lacassine, he wasted no time in getting the Cardinals to once again challenge for a title.
“We’ve worked all year for this,” Hollier said. “I knew that was the expectation with the girls and in the community. That’s what we do around here. To make it there is nice, but we want to be there and win the whole thing. We don’t want to be satisfied with just being there.”
Lacassine entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed and knocked off No. 2 seed Stanley in the semifinals. Stanley owned a 42-0 record entering that game.
The prolific Fairview offense has put up numbers more suiting of an NBA team than a high school basketball team, with five players averaging double-digit scoring. The Panthers have scored 87 points or more in each of their four playoff games.
“The biggest thing is we can’t get it in their mind that we’re going to be able to stop them,” Hollier said. “We’re going to have to do our best to make it tough for them. The only way to stop them would be for their bus to get a flat tire.”
Hollier said Fairview’s Maghan Cooley, who averages 19 points and 10 assists per game, is like a young Steve Nash when she gets into the lane, draws in the defense and kicks the ball out.
Fairview’s Katie Lemieux, who like Cooley, will be playing for her sixth state championship ring, also averages a double-double at 20 points and 12 rebounds per game.
Lacassine has its own weapons in guard Madyson Brasseaux, who averages 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists per game and Abbie Melanson, who commands the paint with 15 points and eight rebounds per game.
Fairview coach Kyle Jinks said he can’t key in on one or two Cardinals.
“They push the ball up the floor really well,” he said. “Their press is effective. They force you to play fast. The teams that have given us the most trouble this year are teams that play a lot like they play.”
Even though Friday will be Fairview’s ninth consecutive finals appearance and give the Panthers a chance for its eighth straight state title, Jinks said it’s different and exciting every time.
“I can’t really focus on eight championships,” he said. “This is some of the girls’ last season and I want to win this for them. We’re focused on one game, not what’s happened in the past.”
In Class C, top-seeded Hackberry (30-4) will play for a state title for the first time since its 2004 championship win.
The Mustangs have never lost a state championship game, going 4-0 in their appearances.
First-year coach Jay Bergeron will look to keep that streak alive against No. 3 seed Summerfield (20-12), which topped Elizabeth in the semifinals.
The experienced Mustangs are led by senior center Destiny Simon with 21.6 points and eight rebounds per game. Guard and fellow senior Jolie Trahan controls the offensive flow for Hackberry, scoring 11.3 points per game while dishing out an average of 6.83 assists.
Hackberry tips off at 4 p.m. at Burton Coliseum and Fairview and Lacassine will follow at 6 p.m.
Posted By: Maxine Troutman On: 3/7/2014
Title: Fairview After 8th Straight Title
Great article! Go Fairview! Win it all again! In 1953 when I played for Fairview we had the same 42-1 record, but wound up losing at State. But it seems you have a much better team. 7 CONSECUTIVE titles is just unheard of! So proud of you. Let's make it 8. We are pulling for you in Bossier City! Go Panthers!