High school basketball: Benton girls aim for spot in state tournament; Bossier boys open quest for Class 4A title

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The Benton Lady Tigers and South Lafourche Lady Tarpons both reached the LHSAA Marsh Madness state tournament in Alexandria last season. Only one will make it this season.

That will be decided Thursday night in Benton when the top-seeded Lady Tigers (32-3) take on the No. 8 Lady Tarpons (23-7) in a Class 4A girls quarterfinal game. Tip-off is 6 o’clock.

Meanwhile, the Bossier Bearkats (28-3), Bossier Parish’s other No. 1 seed, begin their quest for the Class 4A boys state championship with a first-round game against New Orleans Military & Maritime Academy (13-9) at Bossier. Tip-off is 6:30.

South Lafourche has defeated No. 25 Carencro 57-31 and No. 9 Salmen 64-58 in the playoffs. Benton has defeated No. 32 Livonia 86-41 and No. 16 Plaquemine 67-47.

Last season, the Lady Tarpons lost to eventual runner-up Neville in the semifinals 56-45. The Lady Tigers lost to eventual champion Warren Easton 64-54.

South Lafourche is making one of the longest trips you can make in the playoffs. The school is located in Galliano, not far from the coastal town of Grand Isle. It’s about 360 miles to Benton.

The Lady Tarpons finished runner-up to Ellender in District 7-4A. Ellender, the No. 5 seed, is also in the quarterfinals.

South Lafourche and Salmen were tied at 34 at the half. The Lady Tarpons took the lead in the third quarter and never relinquished it.

Junior Makayla Bynum led the way with 24 points.

Benton has played its playoff games without two-time All-Parish selection Emily Ward, who suffered an injury to her left ankle in practice two days before the Lady Tigers’ first-round game.

Ward, a first-team All-State selection last season, dressed out for Monday’s second-round game and is expected to play Thursday.

Bossier’s opponent is a charter school. All NOMMA students are cadets of the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Program, according to the school’s website.

New Orleans Military & Maritime is a member of District 10-4A. It is a non-football school with more than 700 students in grades 8-12. It opened for the 2011-12 school year.

The Airline and Plain Dealing boys will be on the road Friday in first-round games.

Airline (19-12), the No. 31 seed, travels to Monroe to take on No. 2 Ouachita Parish (29-5) at 7 in Class 5A.

The Vikings finished third in District 1-5A. Ouachita Parish won the District 2-5A championship. The Lions reached the semifinals last season.

Plain Dealing (15-9) will host No. 19 Varnado (14-16) at 7 in Class 1A.