Berwick, Morgan City junior highs headed to LA Tech
Basketball teams from Berwick and Morgan City Junior High schools will head north to Louisiana Tech in Ruston this weekend, hoping to cap their season off in style at the Louisiana Youth Sports Academy Middle School Multi-State Championship.
The Berwick Junior High School boys’ team (23-2) and the Morgan City Lady Tigers (10-2) whose teams are composed of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, will compete in the eighth-grade tournament.
The Berwick Panthers will compete in a 13-team bracket, beginning play Friday at 6 p.m. against Evangel.
Because of the way the bracket is set up, with a win or a loss, the Panthers will be one game away from either Saturday’s 6 p.m. championship or Saturday’s 1 p.m. third-place game.
The Lady Tigers will compete in a 16-team bracket, beginning with a game Friday at 7 p.m. against Bailey, Miss.
Action will continue Saturday until a champion is scheduled to be crowned at 5 p.m.
Below is a look at both squads:
Berwick Junior High
The Berwick Junior High Panthers finished as St. Mary Parish Champions with an 11-1 mark. Their lone blemish was an early season overtime loss at Patterson.
After starting the season 2-1, the Panthers won 21 of their next 22 games, falling only to Opelousas Middle School by six points, head coach Trevor Richard said.
“Since then, the kids pretty much had a lot of chemistry going on,” Richard said. “They started playing with each other … We started just getting a lot of wins after that.”
Along with their impressive record, the squad won Central Catholic’s tournament as well as the junior high version of the Sunkist Shootout. They also placed third at Anderson Middle School’s tournament.
The squad is led by eighth-graders, Kennon Jones, who stands about 6-feet, 3-inches; Donald Tillman, Joshua Carver and Collin Louviere as well as sixth-grader Don Quan Tillman.
Richard said the squad benefitted from a summer playing together in the St. Mary Summer League basketball program. Richard, who led the Summer League, coached the squad this past summer.
At this weekend’s tournament, Berwick is not expected to see any teams it has faced this year.
“As long as we go and play our game, I don’t think we’ll have a problem. We just have to limit our turnovers and make our free throws and take what the defense gives us. … As long as we compete, we’ll be OK."
Morgan City Junior High
The Moran City Lady Tigers enter the Ruston tournament with as St. Mary Parish champs with a 10-0 mark. This year was the fourth consecutive year the squad has won the parish title, head coach Allise Jennings said.
The squad’s lone loss this year came at Oaklawn Middle School’s tournament in Houma.
Morgan City’s squad consists of 16 players — three sixth-graders, five seventh-graders and eight eighth-graders.
Jennings said her squad did “wonderful” this year.
The squad is led by Alisha Singleton, an eighth-grader who has been the team’s MVP for two years. Jennings said Singleton averages 20 points a contest.
Other leaders are seventh-grader Sh’Diamond Holly, who Jennings estimated averages around 10 points per game, while on defense, eighth-grader Hailey Lewis and seventh-grader Nia Lightfoot are leaders.
As for this weekend, Jennings said, “It’s going to be good competition,”
Jennings is familiar with a few teams from Oaklawn’s tournament, including Larose-Cutoff, who she said, after watching them earlier this season, she could see winning the tournament.