The Bossier Bearkats are headed back to the state tournament.
Bossier, the No. 2 seed, defeated No. 10 Carroll 60-47 in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A playoffs Friday night in front of a packed house at Bossier.
The Bearkats (27-7) will play No. 3 Wossman (29-6) in the semifinals at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles. The Wildcats routed No. 6 St. Martinville 72-46 in their quarterfinal game.
The trip to the state tournament will be the third in Nick Bohanan’s five seasons as head coach.
“We’re excited to be going,” he said. “Looking forward to it, a return trip back down there to Lake Charles.”
Bossier got a measure of revenge for last year’s 59-56 overtime loss to Carroll in the quarterfinals in Monroe.
The Bearkats last made the state tournament two years ago and came home with the state championship trophy.
Bossier’s victory Friday wasn’t real pretty. As is usually the case, the Bearkats dominated on defense. But Bossier struggled in some other areas.
“We played real, real tight,” Bohanan said. “I didn’t feel like we played very well. I say that, but we played great defensively for the most part. We made it tough on them. But they just pushed us around. We were soft on the backside trying to rebound the basketball.
“They killed us on the offensive glass when we should’ve had a decisive advantage. They didn’t have anybody over 6-feet on their team and they were just pushing us around. We played tight and tentative and weren’t being real aggressive. They were the aggressors the whole game.
“If we’re going to have a chance against Wossman, we’re going to have to do a complete 180. We’re going to have to be a lot tougher or Wossman will beat us thirty.”
The pressure of being the favorite with a spot in the state tournament on the line may have affected his team some, Bohanan said.
“It happens,” he said. “It’s an intense game. A lot of pressure. We’re just going to have to handle it better down there in Lake Charles if we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win.
“I’m proud of them. We fought. We played well enough to win. That’s the main thing.”
Both teams looked tight offensively in the first half. But Bossier managed to take a 22-12 lead into the locker room.
Despite the aforementioned issues, Bossier never really seemed in danger of losing, even when the Wildcats cut the lead to five late in the third quarter.
Senior Joseph Manning sparked the Bearkats at that point, hitting a 3-pointer to put Bossier ahead 34-26. Halfway through the fourth quarter, the lead was up to 18.
“We had a little run,” Bohanan said. Offensively we finally — I guess it was late in the third quarter — we finally just settled down and started making shots and slowing down, not trying to force stuff that wasn’t there. And tried to get the ball in the right people’s hands. We had the ball in the wrong people’s hands for a lot of the time.”
Manning scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the second half. Marquis Harris powered his way to 14 points, including several dunks.
Tahj Roots scored 10 points and hit Bossier’s only other 3-pointer. Despite getting into early foul trouble, Lakavin Thomas chipped in eight points.
Carroll (15-15) tried to beat the Bearkats from the outside. The Bulldogs made six 3s, but they misfired on many attempts.
Ricky Johnson sank four from behind the arc and scored 15 points. Lazarus Burk added 13.