Hamilton hosts top tourney

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The Hamilton Christian/ Showdown in the Lake high school basketball tournament has expanded this year with the boys field expanding to 17 teams and the addition of a 16-team girls bracket.

The girls field features six teams that won state championships last year in Wossman, St. Louis Catholic, Fairview, John Curtis Christian, Lafayette Christian and Southern Lab. Parkway’s Mikaylah Williams, an LSU signee and the No. 2 ranked senior in the country by ESPN, headlines the individual talents taking part in the tournament.

Hamilton athletic director/boys head coach Dexter Washington said growth in popularity and quality of play sparked the addition of the girls bracket.

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“It’s the perfect time to add girls,” Washington said. “(Parkway head coach Gloria Williams and Lafayette Christian head coach Errol Rogers) were instrumental in helping get it started. They have the top two players in the state. (Wossman boys coach) Casey Jones has always come to the tournament and they had a girls championship team so I told him the girls had to come too.

“Girls basketball is probably the hottest thing going in America. They are playing at a high level and people support it. I’ll be managing things at the Hamilton gym, but I’m going to step out to Sam Houston to see some girls games because there are some great matchups. It’s our first year and I’ve been told it is already one of the best tournaments in the state, with maybe only the Sugar Bowl Classic, a national tournament, being bigger.”

The boys field is loaded as well, Washington said, and has a larger local contingent than usual with Barbe and Lake Charles College Prep joining the field for the first time. St. Louis and Washington-Marion are return participants.

Out-of-area teams include defending state champion Madison Prep, state runner-up Wossman and state tournament participants and hosts St. Thomas More, Ouachita, Huntington, Bossier and hosts Hamilton.

Washington said the event provides exposure for the area’s top players.

“It’s about giving kids here that want to play in college an opportunity to play against kids that will be going to the next level, matchups

Hamilton hosts top tourney ups like (former Hamilton star and current Louisiana-Lafayette guard Michael Thomas against (current Tulane guard) Jalen Cook or (former LSU star) Javonte Smart.”

Washington said top individual players include Barbe’s Ja’Quise Richmond and Jabbari Barry, Huntington’s Decedric Webb and Chris Carpenter, Wossman’s Cameron Coleman and Josh Smith, Dunham’s Shad Levy, and St. Thomas More’s Chad Jones.

Washington said the area has several college prospects this season.

“Richmond is one of the most under-recruited talents in the state,” he said. “He is skilled and athletic. Barry has a lot of upside. Our Malachi Evans has gotten offers from Grambling and East Texas Baptist.”

The boys tournament starts tonight with Washington-Marion and Lake Charles College Prep playing at Hamilton Christian. The girls tournament begins Thursday at Sam Houston in Moss Bluff. Boys games will also be played at Lake Charles College Prep. The girls semifinals and championship game will be played Saturday at Hamilton.