The Simsboro Tigers didn’t start badly Tuesday night in their first Class B boys basketball playoff game, but by their standards, an 11-point advantage was unusually competitive. They got into gear after halftime.
The state’s No. 2 seed earned a first round bye, and drew a scrappy Elizabeth team in the regional round. The 84-47 final didn’t reflect a competitive first half that left the Tigers up by a relatively modest 40-29 margin.
“Give Elizabeth a lot of credit. They played hard and shot well,” said Simsboro coach Josh Brown. “We made some adjustments at halftime, and turned up the defensive pressure. We got the speed of the game up where we wanted it and it went from there.”
Simsboro (22-2) once again got balanced scoring, although senior guard Reggie Tyler was the standout with 25 points. Fellow senior Jamarian Cato had 17, junior Nick Maryland 15, senior Braxton Taylor 12 and junior Jordan Crawford 10.
The biggest surprise came after the game, when the Tigers learned a familiar postseason foe, No. 7 Zwolle, was upset at home 55-52 by 23rd-seeded Stanley.
Simsboro will host Stanley Friday night in a state quarterfinal game tentatively targeted for a 6 o’clock tip.
Lincoln Prep and Choudrant both bowed out of the LHSAA boys playoffs Tuesday night with second-round road losses.
The 19th-seeded Panthers gave third-seeded White Castle a tough time on its homecourt but fell 77-66 in a Class A contest. In a Class B matchup, No. 14 Choudrant found third-seeded Hathaway too much on the road in a 67-45 loss.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: The All-District 2-B selections included seven parish competitors, led by first-teamers Kylee Portilloz of Choudrant and the Simsboro duo of Alexia Hester and Ikea Brown. Second-team picks were Katie Wiley and Aly Thomas of Choudrant. Simsboro’s Tytiana Jones and Laila Abney were honorable mention.
Portilloz averaged 14.2 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Lady Aggies. Hester was the district’s top scorer (17.2) and rebounder (12.0) while Brown was second in scoring with her 15.2 average.
Wiley averaged 11.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists, and Thomas contributed 11.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2 assists.
BASEBALL: Thanks to the excellent facilities at the Ruston Sports Complex, the Ruston Bearcats were able to play as scheduled Tuesday evening, and thanks to a four-run fourth inning, they cruised to an 11-6 victory over Airline.
Ruston swiped 12 bases, four by Jacob Martin. Joshua Miller had an RBI single to get the Bearcats moving in the opening frame, and pitched the first five innings, fanning five.
It was 5-3 Bearcats heading into the bottom of the fourth, when they took command by posting a crooked number.
Ruston (3-1) has won three straight heading into the Trey Altic Classic beginning Thursday.
Image: courtesy Simsboro High School