HURRICANES HOPE TO BLOW THROUGH ALARIO FOES
The 2013-2014 Higgins Hurricanes are off to a very good start with victories over West Jefferson, Parkview Baptist and Rummel. You can say that the Hurricanes are meeting expectations.
Higgins reached the regional round of the 5A playoffs last season, falling to Brother Martin. The Hurricanes were 18-8 overall With a host of key players returning, including four starters, Higgins figured to be one of the better teams in the New Orleans area this year and they are not disappointing.
The Hurricanes are among the 14 teams entered in the 4th Annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic January 2-4 at the Alario Center in Westwego, sponsored by sportsNOLA.com.
In his 31st year on the job, head coach Marshall Jackson has a bevy of excellent players who will be on display.
Junior forward Melvin Frazier (6'4, 185) is the best player but certainly not the only excellent player. Senior point guard Shawn Jones (5'11, 155) provides a second solid scoring option nightly and both players are receiving attention in recruiting circles. Junior Daivon Sullivan (6'3, 205) is a three-year starter as well. Frazier, Jones and Sullivan were all-district performers last season.
Unfortunately, talented forward Nathan Bailey is out for the season with a torn meniscus, following surgery.
"He is just a sophomore so we expect to have him back fully healthy for his junior season," Jackson said.
Senior guards Markel Williams (6'1, 195), Shane Walker (6'0 156) and junior Montell James (6'3, 145) have played well for the Hurricanes as well. This is a team with quality depth.
The Hurricanes have played a substantive early schedule, including taking on defending 5A state champion Scotlandville, losing 51-41 for their only early season loss. Higgins went on to win the Zachary Tournament and proceeded to go on a prolonged winning streak.
"The kids are starting to develop and bond as a team," Jackson said. "Every year, the players have to come together as a team. Though they have played together since middle school, this is a process. Many play AAU ball but they are playing together now."
The strength of the Hurricanes is on the defensive end of the floor.
"Defensively, we are playing very well though offensively, we have to continue to improve," Jackson said. "We haven't played many close games but we won a competitive one against Rummel. Those are the kind of games that make you tougher, make you better."
Higgins held opponents to 42.3 points per game last season and no team scored more than 56 on the Hurricanes in their first eight games this season.
While Higgins has played well early, the best is yet to come.
"We feel like we can continue to improve and be a real factor statewide in 5A," Jackson said. "That is always the hope. We have a very competitive district which will prepare us well for the state tournament. I am glad our league is back together again. I feel we have better talent now than when we reached the state championship game 20 years ago."
Higgins lost to John Ehret 79-48 in the 5A state championship game in 1993. Before going after a deep run in the playoffs, Jackson would like his team to make its mark at the Alario Center.
"We really look forward to playing in such a fine event again, so close to home," Jackson said. "It is just up the block from campus so our fans can be there to see us against top-notch competition. This is a great opportunity to grow as a team."
That growth is evident. Higgins should be a force in the tournament.