Two-time defending champion Bossier will again play the favorite’s role in the Bossier Invitational, but the 12-team field includes several teams that could challenge the Bearkats.
The 80th edition of the tournament starts Thursday and runs through Saturday. The semifinals are Saturday at 2 and 3:30 p.m. with the championship game scheduled for 8.
Despite losing several key players off last season’s Class 4A runner-up team, Bossier is 15-3.
The Bearkats won the Showdown in the Lake tournament in Lake Charles last month, defeating Huntington 66-45 in the championship game. The event included several 2019 state champion and runner-up teams.
Huntington (14-4), fresh off winning the “Doc” Edwards Invitational, is back in the Bossier Invitational field. The Raiders and Bearkats are on opposite sides of the bracket and wouldn’t meet until the championship game.
Bossier defeated Red River 75-55 in last year’s title game.
The Bulldogs (11-6), who lost to Airline 57-53 in the “Doc” Edwards third-place game, are back this year.
Parkway (9-4), which lost to Huntington 61-62 in the “Doc” Edwards finals, faces Minden Holiday Classic champion Calvary Baptist (8-6) in the first round.
Natchitoches Central (13-1) has won 11 in a row since falling to Bossier 59-41 in Natchitoches on Nov. 26.
Benton (8-7), which plays Red River in the first round, has been playing well.
Captain Shreve (10-4) is another team to watch. The Gators won the “Doc” Edwards consolation title.
Bossier, DeRidder (7-12), Ruston (6-8) and Natchitoches Central all received first-round byes and will play quarterfinal games Friday.
Thursday’s first-round games
Red River vs. Benton, 3:30 p.m.
Huntington vs. Homer, 5 p.m.
Captain Shreve vs. Loyola 6:30 p.m.
Parkway vs. Calvary Baptist, 8 p.m.