I am getting a late start today but the Top 28 in Lafayette is getting underway as we speak as Spearsville is trailing Athens 17-10 after the first. In the second game we will have Pleasant Hill taking on Saline. The third contest of the day will feature a first time participant in the Riverside Rebels as they take on Evangel Christian who is a perennial football powerhouse in Louisina. Riverside will be lead by the 9th ranked sophomore nationally Ricardo Gathers and seniors Cedric Jenkins and Ed Gallina. The night cap will involve a pair of familiar 5A schools along with a pair of newcomers. The first 5A game will feature the 2 seed Scotlandville Hornets led by Stephen F. Austin signee J-Jay Thomas and they will face the 6 seeded Jesuit Blue Jays who will be led by senior Dominick Scelfo who is heading to Cornell. The final game of the day will feature the Hammond Tornadoes with my guy Brent Grigas as their 1st year head coach and are led by a trio of guards with senior Dominick McCoy and juniors Mark Bridgewater and Mikel Henry. The Tors will take on a former powerhouse in Brother Martin who won back to back 5A titles in 2004 and 2005 before Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans six months later. Brother Martin will rely heavily on senior Pat Swilling Jr and 6'4" junior Jamon Gray. Now it is time for our predictions where below you will see the daily talk and preview from Brady and Kevin with the Daily Advertiser. For further Top 28 Action coverage check in at the Daily Advertiser.
Game 1- Athens over Spearsville
Game 2- Pleasant Hill over Saline
Game 3- Riverside over Evangel
Game 4- Scotlandville over Jesuit
Game 5- Hammond over Brother Martin
Class C Top 28 Capsules
Coach: Marcus Jackson.
Seed: No. 2.
Playoff road: Beat Holy Rosary 91-25, Marion 76-47, Grace Christian 75-27.
Top scorers: Devarius Critton, 6-2, Sr, 16.0 ppg; Willie Cato, 5-11, Sr, 15.0 ppg; Earvin Sneed, 5-11, So, 14.0 ppg; Quartez McDaniel, 6-2, Jr, 12.0 ppg.
Top 28 history: 11th appearance with three titles and five runner-up finishes.
Notes: In addition to an eventful recent history at the Top 28, Athens also brings a healthy resume to this year's Top 28. The Trojans have three wins over fellow semifinalist Saline, split two games with Class 1A semifinalist Arcadia, and also went 1-1 in two games against Class 4A Minden.
Coach: Derion Gipson.
Seed: No. 11.
Playoff road: Beat Assembly Christian 86-50, Atlanta 75-71, Plainview 70-67.
Top scorers: Xairius Larry, 5-4, Fr, 20.0 ppg; Juana Sims, 6-2, Jr, 13.0 ppg; Wesley Hay, 5-10, Sr, 10.0 ppg; Giancarlo Levingston, 5-11, So, 7.0 ppg.
Top 28 history: Second appearance with one runner-up finish.
Notes: Spearsville is one of the few double-digit seeds still alive. The Pelicans beat No. 6 Atlanta and No. 3 Plainview to reach the semifinals. During district play, Spearsville lost two single-digit games to Athens — 60-51 and 70-62.
Pleasant Hill vs. Saline • 3:30 p.m.
PLEASANT HILL EAGLES
Coach: Dale Skinner.
Seed: No. 1.
Road to the Top 28: Beat McManus 89-38, Calvin 73-52, Grand Isle 65-47.
Top scorers: Matthew Scott, 6-3, Sr, 17.0 ppg; Ledarius Holmes, 5-8, So, 13.0 ppg; Aaron Holmes, 5-8, Fr, 12.0 ppg; Latarius Turner, 6-2, Sr, 12.0 ppg; Damaris Holmes, 6-2, Jr, 11.0 ppg.
Top 28 history: Eighth appearance with two titles and three runner-up finishes.
Notes: Not only is Skinner the team's basketball coach, but he's also the principal of the school. Pleasant Hill was 3-2 against Zwolle and has wins over Many and Leesville this season.
Coach: Douglas Madden.
Seed: No. 12.
Playoff road: Beat Elizabeth 84-69, Kilbourne 67-59, Pelican 71-65.
Top scorers: D'Larious Venzant, 6-3, So, 24.7 ppg; DeAndre Venzant, 5-11, Jr, 12.2 ppg; Raylond Venzant, 6-0, Sr, 9.8 ppg; Gus Watts, 5-6, Sr, 9.1 ppg.
Top 28 history: Eighth appearance with four titles and three runner-up finishes.
Notes: While Saline's record may be under .500, the Bobcats didn't exactly get to that record taking the easy way out. Among their 18 losses, four are to Athens, two to Atlanta, one to Arcadia, one to Red River and one to Jonesboro-Hodge. All but quarterfinalist Atlanta are in the Top 28.
Notes: This is the school's first boys basketball playoff appearance since 2005. The Rebels do so as the No. 1-ranked team in Class 2A. Of course, the cast is different. Byrd and all of his starters were Reserve Christian Eagles last year. All moved over to Riverside when Reserve Christian closed its doors in May.
Evangel Christian Eagles
Coach: Reni Mason.
Seed: No. 5.
Playoff road: Beat North Caddo 84-45, Dunham 55-41, Many 66-56.
Top scorers: Devin George, 6-4, Sr, 16.8 ppg; Cameron Monroe, 6-0, Jr, 14.2 ppg; Eric Thomas, 6-3, Sr, 13.2 ppg; Virgil Williams, 5-10, Sr, 11.2 ppg.
Top 28 history: First appearance.
Notes: Mason is a former college basketball player at UNO. Known as a football school, Evangel comes to the Top 28 red hot, having won 16 straight games and 21 of its last 22. The Eagles own a win over Class B Top 28 participant Zwolle this season. Thomas was an All-State wide receiver and Williams an All-State defensive back on the Class 2A All-State football team.
Class 5A Capsule
Jesuit Blue Jays
Top 28 history: Sixth appearance with four state titles.
Seed: No. 2.
Playoff road: Beat Denham Springs 65-57, Natchitoches Central 75-63, Covington 89-83.
Top scorers: J-Jay Thomas(right), 6-4, Sr, 24.2 ppg; Levi Wright, 6-1, Jr, 16.5 ppg; Deshawn Washington, 5-9, Soph, 11.3 ppg.
Top 28 history: First trip.
Notes: The Hornets won their first district title since 1975 this year. In the modern LHSAA format, the last time the team advanced to the quarterfinals was in 1977. Scotlandville did win a state title in 1959 in the old LIALO. Thomas averages 11 rebounds and is a Stephen F. Austin signee.
Hammond vs. Brother Martin • 8 p.m.
Coach: Brent Grigas
Seed: No. 5.
Playoff road: Beat West Jefferson 77-60, Southwood 101-77, Sulphur 59-55.
Top scorers: Mark Bridgewater, 6-1, Jr, 16.0 ppg; Mikel Henry 5-9, Jr, 14.0 ppg; Domonick McCoy, 5-8, Jr, 10.0 ppg; Terrence Bridges, 6-3, Sr, 8.0 ppg.
Top 28 history: Third appearance with one runner-up finish.
Notes: Grigas is in his first year as head coach of the Tors after being an assistant at Southwood in 2008-09. Hammond has won 18 straight since losing to Plaquemine, 39-35, in the Plaquemine Tournament on Dec. 30.
Brother Martin Crusaders
Seed: No. 9.
Playoff road: Beat Lafayette High 56-49, Ponchatoula 66-63, St. Augustine 62-58.
Top scorers: Patrick Swilling(right), 6-4, Sr, 18.3 ppg; Schane Rillieux, 5-11, Jr, 14.1 ppg; Ryan Berger, 6-4, Sr, 8.7 ppg; Myron Chapman, 6-2, Soph, 7.5 ppg.