A basketball triple play: Madison Prep, Woodlawn, Denham Springs set Saturday finals

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No semifinal game?

Believe it or not, Madison Prep coach Dwayne Hayes see it is a problem going into his team’s  Division II select title game.

“We played the toughest schedule we could … all the top teams like John Curtis and Lafayette Christian,” Hayes said. “All the teams in Baton Rouge.

“We know them … they know us. It all comes down the girls, how they feel? It’s not about me, it’s what we can do in 32 minutes.”

The second-seeded Chargers (24-10) make their LHSAA Girls State Basketball tournament 2024 debut against top-seeded LCA in a 2 p.m. Saturday final at SLU University Center.

Madison Prep joins Woodlawn and Denham Springs as Baton Rouge finalists on the final day of the six-day tourney.

The Chargers advanced to the final via forfeit on Tuesday when it was announced that Vandebilt Catholic had self-reported unintentionally using a player who was academically ineligible.

Action begins at noon with fifth-seeded Woodlawn (25-9) continuing its Cinderella tourney debut. The Panthers face second-seeded John Curtis (21-4) in the Division I select final at noon.

Second-seeded Denham Springs (29-4) faces defending champion Parkway (25-7) in the Division I nonselect final at 6 p.m.

In LCA, a team led by LSU signee Jada Richard, Madison Prep meets a team that has won three LHSAA titles in a row and seven in the last eight years.

Richard scored a game-high 33 points in a semifinal win over Bunkie. She made 14 of 22 shots from the field with four steals and three assists.

Lafayette Christian beat a short-handed Madison Prep squad 54-35 at the Sugar Bowl tourney in January. The Chargers enter Saturday’s game at full strength.

Paige Hawkins and Laila Robinson each average 16 points a game for Madison Prep. Robinson was part of MPA’s Class 3A runner-up team in 2022.

Woodlawn has a similar storyline. In what was perhaps a sign of good things to come, the Panthers lost to Curtis, a traditional power, 68-55 in early November.

“That was our third game of the year. I told the girls we would take that game and grow from it,” WHS coach Alicia Dedeaux said. “Now, four months later, we get to see how far we have come.”

Guard Amijah Price scored 33 points and had 10 rebounds in Woodlawn’s semifinal win over top-seeded Huntington. Chikae Desdunes led Curtis with 24 points in a semifinal win over another local team, the Panthers’ District 4-5A rival Liberty.

For Denham Springs (29-4), facing fifth-seeded Parkway is a new challenge. The Panthers eliminated top-seeded Walker, the DSHS’ parish and a 5-5A rival, on a buzzer beater Thursday night.

“I’m not sure I knew where Parkway was until a couple of years ago,” said DSHS coach Rudy Smith, who previously coached on the middle school level. “They are impressive … very athletic. We’re watching film and have a plan together.”


About Mary Weyand 12323 Articles
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