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Opinion: High School Athletics: Which school ruled in 2016-17?

 Airline, Benton, Parkway had great years, but which school ruled in 2016-17? 

Another high school sports year has come to a close in Bossier Parish so it’s once again time to ask: Which school ruled?

As usual, the six Bossier Parish schools enjoyed plenty of success. Unlike 2015-16, when Bossier won the Class 4A state boys basketball championship and Benton won its fifth straight Division II golf title, no parish team brought home a state title.

While deciding which school ruled is always a challenge, there is one key criteria — district championships. Airline won six of them.

In the fall, Airline captured the volleyball championship for the first time in school history.
The Vikings won the District 1-5A boys basketball title for the first time in five years in the winter. Airline also won the inaugural district wrestling championship and regional title.

Airline capped an outstanding year by winning its fourth straight district baseball title and tying with Evangel Christian for the softball championship in the spring. The Vikings also captured the boys track and field title. Airline also gets points for finishing runner-up in boys and girls cross country and bowling.

Benton failed to win its third straight District 1-4A football championship, but the Tigers get points for winning 10 games for the third straight year and advancing to the 4A quarterfinals. In the winter, Benton won the 4A and below boys bowling title.

As usual, Benton’s strongest time of the year was the spring.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers swept the district track and field championships. The Lady Tigers went to to finish state runner-up.

Benton won its fifth straight district baseball title. The golf team may not have won state again, but the Tigers captured the district title. Benton also finished second to North DeSoto in its division of 1-4A softball. The Lady Tigers then pulled off a pair of upsets before losing eventual champ North DeSoto in the semifinals in Sulphur.
Benton also gets points for runner-up finishes in boys and girls soccer in the winter.

Parkway won four district titles. Parkway has dominated 1-5A cross country and this year was no exception as the Panthers and Lady Panthers swept the district titles in the fall.
The Parkway boys and girls bowling teams both went undefeated with district championships to show for it in the winter.

Parkway gets points for its runner-up finish in football in the fall. The Panthers went 10-2, losing only to Division I state champion Evangel Christian in district play and 5A state champion Landry-Walker in the quarterfinals. Parkway also finished second in wrestling in the winter.

Haughton didn’t have one of its best years, but the Bucs finished second in boys track and field and third in baseball. Haughton gets points for pulling off the upset of the year in baseball. The No. 31 seed Bucs defeated No. 2 seed and three-time defending state champion Barbe 2-0 the first round of the playoffs.

Bossier had a long string of boys basketball district titles ended, but the Bearkats had another 30-win season. Bossier finished tied for second in 1-4A. Bossier also finished district runner-up in boys soccer.

Plain Dealing got a runner-up finish in District 1-1A in girls basketball.
Plain Dealing also gets points for knocking off No. 4 seed Oberlin in the second round of the football playoffs.

So which school ruled in 2016-17? I’m going to have to say Airline. But Benton and Parkway also had years worth crowing about.

In about three months, it starts all over again.

 — Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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