An outstanding season came to a disappointing end for the Airline Vikings on Thursday in the first round of the Class 5A boys basketball playoffs.
Airline, the No. 17 seed, fell to No. 16 Slidell 60-51 in Slidell.
The Vikings closed the season 23-7. Airline won its first District 1-5A championships since the 2011-12 season. This was also the Vikings’ first playoff appearance since then.
Airline got off to a good start and led 25-18 at the half. But the Tigers outscored the Vikings by 10 in the third for a 37-34 lead.
Airline was within 43-42 with 4:28 left, but Slidell (23-7) extended the lead to six with just over a minute left.
The loss ended the careers of seniors Keith Lehr, Kaeon Chapple, KJ Bilbo, Dan Goines and Anthony Durgin.
The Bossier Bearkats and Plain Dealing Lions play first-round playoff games at home Friday night at 7.
Bossier (28-6), the No. 2 seed, begins defense of its Class 4A state championship against No. 31 West Ouachita (13-20).
West Ouachita, a member of District 2-4A, started the season 10-7, but the Chiefs have had a rough go of it since, winning only three of their last 16.
Plain Dealing (10-12), the No. 11 seed, faces District 1-1A rival and No. 22 Homer (8-20) in a Class 1A first-round game.
The teams split their district meetings. Homer won the first game 57-50 on Dec. 13 at Plain Dealing. The Lions won the second 63-39 at Homer on Jan. 20 at Homer.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org