MAUREPAS -- Walker’s basketball team got a sweep of the top seeds for next week’s Livingston Parish Tournament, which begins Monday at French Settlement’s Gerald Keller Gym.

The tournament is making a return after being postponed last season because of COVID.

On the boys side, the Wildcats, who are looking for their sixth straight parish title, got the No. 1 seed without playing a game yet this season.

“(Getting) the No. 1 seed this year goes back to previous success, and that’s where you want to be,” Walker coach Anthony Schiro said. “You want people to understand who you are as a team. The challenge now is to have our guys understand that it’s not just a given, that you have to work, and we have a target on our back and they’re coming for us full speed. They want nothing better than to beat us and take down the No. 1 seed, so that’s what I’ve got to convince our guys is to take nothing for granted and keep working hard.”

Walker, which opens the tournament next Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., will face the winner of No. 8 Holden and No. 9 Maurepas, who square off at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

On the girls’ side, Walker nabbed the top seed after starting the season 7 -0.

“It really doesn’t matter to me,” Walker girls coach Korey Arnold said. “To win a championship, you’ve got to beat good teams. It doesn’t matter if you’re four, five or one, you’ve still got to play the same teams when you get to that second and third round. It’s a credit to the kids. They worked really hard in the offseason. We had a good start to the season, but like I said, I don’t put a lot of merit into seeding. You’ve just got to show up and play.”

Walker will face the winner of Monday’s 6 p.m. game between No. 8 Live Oak and No. 9 Maurepas at 6 p.m. next Wednesday.

“You’ve got rival games,” Arnold said. “Teams play a little better sometimes than they are. They may play a little worse than they are. You’ve got to come every day prepared. That’s one thing we do. I don’t overlook anybody. We always prepare the same way and show up and play.”

French Settlement nabbed the No. 2 seed in the boys’ bracket after starting the season 5-1 and will open the tournament against No. 7 Albany next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

French Settlement vs Live Oak boys: Jake Bourgeois

French Settlement coach Jake Bourgeois

“We thought coming in that we’d get a high seed,” FSHS coach Jake Bourgeois said. “Didn’t think it would be two, but we’re excited about it. We’ve been working. We’ve got the same guys who have been working for two or three years now toward this goal. Now we’ve just got to go out there and try to perform when it matters most and try to see if we can get us a championship for the first time since 1994.”

The Wildcats, who return starters Donald Butler, Warren Young Jr., Kedric Brown and Ja’Cory Thomas, travel to face Catholic in their season opener Tuesday and face Rayville and either Calvary Baptist or Wossman in the Hamilton Christian Tournament.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to be a good team again, but we do have four guys coming back, so that’s what that speaks to,” Schiro said of getting the top seed. “That’s all that is. We’ve got experience, and we’ve got some good athletes, and we’ve got some guys coming back. We haven’t played a game yet, so we’ll see how good we are over the next few days.”

The Lions also bring back a veteran team that features a starting lineup of Edward Allison, Boston Balfantz, Draven Smith, Will McMorris and Joel LeBourgeois.

“It’s definitely beneficial because you have Draven, Edward and Will, this is their third year starting varsity, so they have plenty of experience,” Bourgeois said. “My other guys, they’ve been preparing, getting ready for this moment. Unlike last year, this year we go seven eight deep, which helps a lot with the way we like to play, get up and down the floor and run.”

Next week’s first round games in the boys’ bracket have No. 3 Live Oak facing No. 6 Doyle at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and No. 4 Denham Springs facing No. 5 Springfield at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Albnay at Holden girls basketball Pam Forbes

Holden High's Pam Forbes calls out adjustments to her players.

“We have a lot of talented teams in Livingston,” Bourgeois said. “It’s always fun matchups when you go against these Livingston schools who always bring good crowds. We have a lot of schools who are proud about basketball, and they bring a lot of fans with them. I think it’s going to be a really good week. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Holden garnered the No. 2 seed in the girls’ bracket and will meet No. 7 Doyle, which won the parish title in 2019, next Tuesday at 6 p.m.

“I really was not expecting the No. 2 seed,” Holden coach Pam Forbes said. “Of course everybody knows Walker is very, very good, but between the two seed and the eighth seed, it’s just a number, because I think a lot of our schools are kind of in the same situation. Some were undefeated. Our record’s 4-3, but I think that all of our teams are very closely ranked. I think that you could throw up two through eight, and I think you couldn’t get it wrong. That just shows that in Livingston Parish, as always, you’re going to meet the strongest competition inside of our parish, and that just makes us better for when we play people outside of our parish.”

Other first round games in the girls’ bracket have No. 3 Albany facing No. 6 Springfield at 3 p.m. next Tuesday, while No. 4 Denham Springs meets No. 5 French Settlement at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Arnold returns a core group of players, including Caitlin Travis, Lanie Miller and Aneace Scott.

“We do have a lot of experience even though we’re still kind of young,” Arnold said. “We’re a lot deeper than we’ve been in the past. I can play probably 12-13 kids, which helps us with the style of play stay a little fresher for longer, so that’s been our calling card early on, just getting after people and using our depth.”

The Lady Rockets also return a veteran team.

“This little group, they’re the same team we had last year basically, so sometimes they’re fun to watch, and sometimes it’s a disaster,” Forbes said with a laugh. “That’s just the way it is. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. They’re great kids, and they like to play the game of basketball. I’m excited about the parish tournament this year.

“I think that everybody is pretty even, and I think that as the parish tournament plays out, it’s going to make for a great tournament, because when you have teams that are really, really good and then really, really bad, it’s not a fun tournament, but this might be one of the best tournaments that we’ve gone to as far as the competition,” Forbes continued.

2021 LIVINGSTON PARISH TOURNAMENT

Dec. 6-11 at Gerald Keller Gym, French Settlement

Monday

Girls: Live Oak vs Maurepas, 6 p.m.

Boys: Holden vs. Maurepas, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday

Girls: Albany vs. Springfield, 3 p.m.

Boys: Live Oak vs. Doyle, 4:30 p.m.

Girls: Doyle vs. Holden, 6 p.m.

Boys: Albany vs. French Settlement, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday

Girls: Denham Springs vs. French Settlement, 3 p.m.

Boys: Denham Springs vs. Springfield, 4:30 p.m.

Girls: Walker vs. Live Oak/Maurepas winner, 6 p.m.

Boys: Walker vs. Holden/Maurepas winner, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday

Girls games: 3 p.m., 6 p.m.

Boys games: 4:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

Friday

Girls games: 3 p.m., 6 p.m.

Boys games: 4:30 p.m, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

Girls consolation final: noon

Boys consolation final: 1:30 p.m

Girls third place game: 3 p.m.

Boys third place game: 4:30 p.m.

Girls championship game: 6 p.m.

Boys championship game: 7:30 p.m.

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