The LHSAA boys state basketball playoffs are heating up. Salmen’s Spartans (27-5), the No. 1 seed, faced a stiff challenge last night on the road, facing off with No. 17 Neville., Salmen came home with a thrilling 55-51 double overtime victory. Salmen advances to the quarterfinal round and is set to host No. 9 A. J. Ellender this Friday night. In last night’s regional round contest, Salmen’s Chris Vickers came up big again in the clutch for the Spartans when they needed it most. Vickers has poured in 32 and 26 points in Salmen’s two playoff victories. Vickers netted two clutch free throws with just five seconds left to put the Spartans up by four.
Salmen coach Jay Carlin, a member of the 800-career victory club said, “It was a great defensive effort by our team showing a lot of heart down the stretch. Chris Vickers has been outstanding for us on both ends of the court in the two playoff victories.” Carlin added that Vickers has had big offensive games, while rebounding, blocking shots and hitting clutch shots to propel the Spartans to Friday night’s quarterfinals.
Salmen built a 22-15 halftime advantage.
No. 15 seed Mandeville (23-10), the co-District 6-5A champs, traveled to No. 2 Helen Cox last night, and fell 80-59 to close out the Skippers’ season in a regional round game played at John Ehret.
Helen Cox’s Roydell Brown led the Cougars posting a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Mandeville senior point guard Hunter Dugas, a member of the Skippers’ 1,000-point club, closed out his illustrious career, with 19 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Mandeville senior Ethan Turner, nicknamed “Downtown” for his long-range shooting ability, closed out his career with an 11-point effort, collecting four rebounds and three steals. Fellow senior Jessie Johnson netted 11 points. Junior Eric Degelos suffered a broken foot during the first quarter of last night’s regional round contest.
The Skippers had advanced to the regional round, earning a 61-46 opening round overtime home victory over the Jesuit Blue Jays last Friday. Congratulations to the Skippers and coach Paul Paille on another successful season, making it to the second round.
No. 16 St. Paul’s (23-10), the co-district 6-5A champs, had the unenviable task of going against No. 1 seed Natchitoches Central on the road last night. St. Paul’s came up short, being downed 60-39. Natchitoches Central (29-5) won its eighth consecutive game and now hosts No. 8 West Jefferson Friday night.
St. Paul’s Stephen Hammond and Parker Edwards led the Wolves with eight points each. T. J. Bedford netted seven points and Harrison Prieto tallied six points. Prieto topped the Wolves with nine rebounds. St. Paul’s offense committed 15 turnovers.
St. Paul’s coach Phil Williams said Natchitoches Central’s junior post player Cameron Lard, who goes 6-10, controlled the paint blocking numerous shots, resulting in a good transition game and easy baskets.
The Wolves graduate four seniors, Stephen Hammond, Ryan Keller, Connor Lyons and Christophe Robertson. Coach Williams said, “It was a very productive season. Our younger players gained valuable experience and game action being led by a very positive senior group.”
St. Paul’s had secured an opening round hard-fought 71-65 victor over No. 17 McKinley in a game played last Friday at Covington High, a neutral site.
In Class 2A regional round playoff action, the Archbishop Hannan Hawks, the No. 9 seed, traveled to No. 8 Runnels last night. Runnels earned a 73-65 victory to advance. Runnels now travels to No. 1 seed Riverside Academy.
Archbishop Hannan’s Daniel Hollander and Noah Griffin dropped in 19 points each for the Hawks. Hannan, coached by Michael Senna, finishes the year at 23-7.

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