Hamilton Christian and St. Louis both survived nailbiters in the boys basketball playoffs last year. The reward for each is another daunting assignment, as the No. 2 Warriors will host No. 6 Calvary Baptist in a Division IV semifinal game while the No. 5 Saints will travel to Lafayette to face Division II top seed St. Thomas More.
Each game will begin at 7 p.m.
Hamilton beat Country Day 71-65, pulling away in the final minutes of a game that was close all the way. Calvary advanced with a comeback win at No. 3 Opelousas Catholic, winning 78-75 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
The Cavs are led by 6-5 forward D'Marcus Hall, a UL-Monroe signee.
"They have got some size, starting with Hall, and guards that can shoot the ball," Hamilton head coach Dexter Washington said. "We are going to be outsized. We will have to find a way to make them uncomfortable. We will have to speed them up, we don't want to be in a halfcourt game. They love the perimeter shot."
Washington isn't worried about a letdown after the win against Country Day, which he called the team's toughest quarterfinal game.
"There's too much on the line for these guys, too much at stake," he said. "I'm not worried about them. This could be their last game at home or their last game ever, they are going to be ready. They have played at Burton 3 straight years. When I looked in their eyes today there was no fear or nervousness as there was before the championship game last year. We talked today, for the last three years (two semifinal losses and a championship game loss) our season has ended with everyone crying. It's time we end with tears of joy."
Guards Michael Thomas and Adrian Brown scored 22 and 19 points respectively in the win over Country Day.
St. Louis head coach Rick LeBato will be on familiar ground at STM after formerly coaching at Northside, a district rival. The Cougars are a perennial power and have lost only one game at full-strength this year, a playoff tune-up game against Lafayette Christian.
The Cougars are led by returning all state guard Jaden Shelvin and a pair of two-sport stars in Jack Bech and Carter Domingue, members of the STM championship football team which beat St. Louis en route to the title. Domingue and Shelvin combined to score 34 points in STM's 46-38 win over St. Michael.
The Saints advanced with a 53-51 at Lee.
"We defended well, we set a goal of limiting them to 10 3-pointers, and that is exactly what they had," LeBato said. "We were better on free throws. If you can do those two and limit turnovers, you have a chance to win on the road. STM can really shoot the 3-ball and has great depth, two kids off the bench are two of their best shooters."