EAGLES HEAD TO WEST BANK FOR TOURNEY
Some would call it the proverbial Cinderella story.
As the 23rd-seed, Parkview Baptist made a run to the 3A semifinals in 2013, falling to Union Parish 58-56 at Shreveport to cap an 18-13 season.
In his 13th season at the helm, Parkview Baptist head coach Don Green rejects the glass slipper and is genuinely excited about his 2013-2014 team prospects.
"It was enjoyable but we never felt we were a Cinderella team," Green said. "Our schedule was brutal, intended to be that way to give us seasoning to the record was not a true indication of our ability. It took us awhile to get used to playing with each other but when we did, we became a good team. We felt we would be formidable in the playoffs."
Parkview Baptist is one of 14 boys teams set to participate in the 4th Annual Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic January 2-4 at the Alario Center in Westwego, sponsored by SportsNola.com.
The Eagles won back-to-back 3A state championships in 1997 and 1998, beating defending champion Karr 66-45 in '97 before whipping Washington-Marion 85-62 in '98.
Parkview Baptist has been in tough thus far this season, facing a very tough schedule. The Eagles have played defending 5A state champion Scotlandville, Tara, Denham Springs and Higgins.
"Our schedule is again tough this year, preparing us for district play and the playoffs," Green said. "We are looking forward to the journey."
Any conversation about the Eagles starts with center James Thompson (6'8, 205) has offers from from the likes of LSU, Auburn, Kansas State, Memphis, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, among others.
"James is somebody you want on your team," Green said. "He is mobile, agile, blocks shots and can score. He is someone others have to deal with. What others are realizing is that we have more than him to deal with."
All five starters for the Eagles are seniors.
Guard Reed Vial and forward Matthew Starkey along are standout returning players from last season as well. The Eagles have more depth this season than last season. Vial already has a 32-point effort this season.
"Reed is having a very good year and is handling the ball very well and rebounding for us,' Green said. "We have to have him play well. Matthew works as hard as any player we've ever hand. He is kind of a utility guy who can score, rebound and distribute it. Will Jones (6'3, 190) is another returning player who has been hurt (sports hernia) and has been unable to contribute yet.
Konner Crone is the other starter. The Eagles are trying to find a steady leader. Austin Payne, Josh Dickey and freshman Tyree Lomax are sharing time at the point guard position.
"We are pleased with the effort of all three but we would like to establish one leader at the position," Green said.
Anthony Stove provides scoring off the bench, along with senior Adam Rudd.
"Our depth is good," Green said. "We play as many as 13 kids on any given night."
Fitting in with the theme of playing top-flight competition, Green is looking forward to the challenge awaiting his Eagles in Westwego.
"Anytime you can play at a tournament that combines top teams in Louisiana and better teams from out-of-state is always a plus for you," Green said. "You get exposed to different styles of play and a different environment. It is something you look forward to and it is an honor to be invited. We will use it to try to improve. It will express what you do well or expose won't you won't do well."
After coming close to being the belle of the ball a year ago, Parkview Baptist is poised to take the next step in 2014, if a point guard emerges and Jones returns to add to the fine depth Green has developed.