Girls basketball: Benton, Bossier, Plain Dealing face big challenges in Monday’s second round

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After posting impressive home victories in the first round of the LHSAA girls basketball playoffs, all three Bossier Parish teams will be underdogs on the road in Monday’s second-round games.

In Class 4A, District 1 champion Benton (26-8), the No. 11 seed, faces No. 6 Rayne (28-2) and runner-up Bossier (22-6), the No. 16 seed, travels to Lafayette to take on No. 1 St. Thomas More (22-5). In Class 1A, District 1 runner-up Plain Dealing (22-7), the No. 11 seed, plays No. 6 Merryville (29-0).

Benton defeated No. 22 Beau Chene 40-32 in the first round last Thursday, and Rayne routed No. 27 St. Martinville 67-30.

Rayne won District 3-4A with a 10-0 mark. The Lady Wolves didn’t have a game closer than 15 points in district play.

Rayne lost back-to-back games against Barbe 50-44 and St. Thomas More 27-25 in early December. They’ve reeled off 23 straight wins since then. Barbe won the District 1-5A title and is the No. 4 seed in the 5A playoffs.

The Lady Wolves reached the quarterfinals last year, falling to eventual runner-up Salmen 51-48.

Bossier defeated No. 17 Salmen 66-48 in the first round, and St. Thomas More crushed No. 32 Assumption 77-24.

St. Thomas More won the District 4-4A championship with a 9-1 mark. The Lady Cougars’ lone district loss was to Carencro 59-57 on Feb. 10.

Two of St. Thomas More’s losses were to out-of-state teams. The Lady Kats and Lady Cougars have one common opponent in Salmen. St. Thomas More lost to the Lady Spartans 47-45 in the third game of the season. The Lady Cougars’ other in-state loss was to St. Michael 35-32 on Dec. 11.

St. Thomas More lost in the second round last year.

Plain Dealing rolled past No. 22 East Iberville 71-42 in the first round of the 1A playoffs, and Merryville crushed No. 27 Block 79-29.

Merryville won the District 4-1A title with a 14-0 record. The Lady Panthers’ closest game in district play was 12 points. Their second-closest was 29.

Merryville’s closest game on the season was a 49-48 victory against Singer on Dec. 19. They won every other game by at least 12 points.

Merryville lost to Plain Dealing’s 1-1A rival Arcadia in the quarterfinals last year.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com