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High school boys basketball: Bossier aims for another trip to the state tournament

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Bossier Head Coach Nick Bohanan knows very well how special the state tournament is.

After all, in his four previous seasons as head coach, his Bearkats made two of them. As an assistant under Jeremiah Williams, he was part of six. Bossier also reached the semifinals in 2013, but the quarterfinals and semifinals were played at regional sites that year.

“That‘s the pinnacle of basketball in Louisiana,” Bohanan said after his team’s 83-41 victory over Richwood in the second round Tuesday at Bossier. “Selfishly, I’d like every group to have the chance to experience the Top 28. In my mind there’s nothing like it. … I wish every high school kid got the opportunity to experience it.”

If No. 2 seed Bossier (26-7) defeats No. 10 Carroll (15-14) Friday night at Bossier (7 p.m. tip) in the Class 3A quarterfinals, Bohanan and his team will be heading to another state tournament at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles, site of the Bearkats’ last state championship two years ago.

The event has officially been known as the Boys Basketball State Championships, part of the LHSAA’s Marsh Madness, since the LHSAA split into select and non-select categories for the playoffs.

But those who have been around awhile, including Bohanan, still call it the Top 28, the name the boys state tournament was known for years because it featured the semifinals and finals in the LHSAA’s seven classes.

To earn a trip to Lake Charles, the Bearkats will have to defeat the team that ended their season last year. Carroll won 59-56 in overtime in Monroe.

Almost all of the Bossier players are back who played in that game.

Carroll has had an up-and-down season. The Bulldogs lost their final three regular-season games.

But Carroll has seemingly got it together for the playoffs. The Bulldogs defeated No. 23 Patterson 51-42 in the first round and No. 7 Ville Platte 58-51 in the second.

Like Bossier’s second-round opponent Richwood, Carroll is in District 2-3A. The Bulldogs split their games with the Rams, winning 66-64 and losing 52-51.

After the win over Richwood, Bohanan said he likes how his team is playing now.

“I feel like we’re starting to hit our stride again,” he said. “I feel like (Joseph) Manning is starting to score the ball pretty well. He’s kind of hit his stride in the last couple of weeks. Then Marquis (Harris)  inside. I thought he had a big game tonight for the most part. He missed a couple in there that I wanted him to finish. Overall, he’s a force to reckon with in the middle as well.”

When guards Tahj Roots and Javon Johnson hit from the outside, the Bearkats are tough to beat.

Roots hit six 3-pointers and led Bossier with 24 points against Richwood.

“I think we’re in a pretty good spot,” Bohanan said.

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