Since a 3-2 start this season that included a 15-point loss to Ouachita and a two-point loss to St. Thomas More, the Bossier High Bearkats have been on a serious roll.
The only loss in the Bearkats’ last 19 games was a 43-42 decision to Ouachita in the championship game of Airline’s Doc Edwards tournament.
Tuesday night, Bossier reached the 20-win mark with a 47-29 victory over Louisiana New Tech at Plain Dealing.
Tonight, the Bearkats play host to Winnfield, the last of three 20-game winners Bossier High faces in regular-season play.
A 20-win season is business as usual for Coach Jeremiah Williams’ Bearkats, who have more than 30 wins in each of their last four seasons – and 28 or more in each of their last nine seasons.
The Kats, who are ranked No. 1 in Class 3A in this week’s Louisiana Sports Writers’ Association poll, would have to win all of their remaining regular-season games — and a few more in the state playoffs — to keep those streaks alive.
In their last nine games, Bossier High’s defense has been especially impressive. The only team that has scored more than 43 points against the Kats in those nine games was Captain Shreve, in a 60-51 loss to the Bearkats.
The Bearkats won’t open District 1-3A play until they play Loyola next Tuesday. But Green Oaks (10-9) is the only other team in the district that has a winning record. Loyola is 9-12 and North DeSoto is 5-14.
The first Bossier High basketball team that reached the state finals was the 1948-49 team, coached by Frank Lampkin. That team, led by All-Staters Bobby Ray McHalffey and Tommy Woodall, reached the finals of Class A playoffs before falling to Many, 46-27, to finish the season with a 28-12 record.
The first Bossier High basketball team that won a state championship was the 1959-60 team, coached by John McConathy. The Bearkats, led by All-Staters Cecil Upshaw and Dennis Kile, finished a 41-4 season with a 39-35 win over DeLaSalle (New Orleans) in the Class 3A (then the top class) championship game. DeLaSalle, coached by Johnny Altobello, came up short in its bid for a record fourth straight state title.
Upshaw, who reached the major leagues as a baseball pitcher, was the leading scorer on that team with an average of 16.9 points per game. Bossier High’s 41 wins set a Caddo-Bossier record that has not been broken, and the Bearkats’ winning percentage (.911) was a Caddo-Bossier record at that time.
The Bearkats qualified for the championship game with a 61-54 semifinal victory over Jesuit (New Orleans), which was led by future major league baseball star Rusty Staub and future LSU quarterback Pat Screen. But Staub made only one of 12 field goal attempts against Bossier High, while Upshaw scored 29, Kile 15 and Max Nix 13 for the Bearkats.
The 1960 championship game was played in the tiny gym at the end of the Bossier High school building that is now known as the girls’ gym, which had a seating capacity of 600. But that was the last year that state titles were decided in the home gyms of one of the teams, because the Louisiana High School Athletic Association started the Top Twenty state tournament (which is now the Top 28 state tournament) a few months later.