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|Trojans finally earned respect|
The Ferriday High boys basketball team flew under the radar most of the season.
It took the Trojans until late January to finally get noticed in the state polls, and even then they weren't getting the kind of respect they deserved.
One big reason for that is the fact it took the Trojans a while to get going, mostly in part because the Ferriday High football team played up into late November.
They were also playing some tough competition, losing to Vidalia in the finals of the Vidalia and Ferriday basketball tournaments.
But you could see this team start coming together in January.
Ferriday defeated Jonesboro-Hodge 61-59 on its home court and at that time you could see something special about this team. They played well together. Ferriday really did not have one star player, just a group of guys who are all really good basketball players working as a team.
The Trojan defense was tenacious each night.
The team seemed to bond even closer together after a home game against Natchez in which Ferriday trailed 54-50 with 5:03 remaining before scoring nine of the next 11 points and going on to a 59-52 win.
The most impressive regular season win came in Jonesboro, as Ferriday defeated a real good J-H team on its home court 71-69. Anyone who has ever been to Jonesboro-Hodge for any kind of contest can tell you how hard it is to leave that place with a win.
Then the Trojans had to turn around less than 24 hours later after the long road trip and double back up to Sterlington High because bad weather postponed an earlier game where they easily disposed of the Panthers. No one could have found fault with the Trojans if they would have sleptwalked through that contest, but this team was not going to be denied.
Ferriday finished unbeaten in a tough district and was rated No. 2 in power ratings by kenramsey.com.
But Ferriday would be seeded No. 6 by 2A coaches when it came time to draw the bracket.
Then came the run through the playoffs.
Ferriday defeated Springfield 84-52 then went on the road before advancing with a 72-54 win over Donaldsonville.
Then came No. 3 Episcopal with the type of team that has given past Trojan teams fits in the past with a very deliberate passing game and a lot of patience.
But it would be Episcopal which would get flustered on this night, as with each pass a Trojan hand was in the face of the Knight guard. Ferriday played Episcopal's type of game, getting the quick baskets when they needed them, winning 42-35.
The team that kenramsey had rated No. 1, Springhill, was upset by district rival Lakeside in the quarterfinals.
It was the first time Springhill had lost to Lakeside in four meetings this season.
Ferriday defeated Lakeside 79-77 in the Cajundome in the semifinals to advance to the state championship game, which they fell to the defending state champion St. Thomas Aquinas Falcons 61-52.
St. Thomas Aquinas defeated Mitchell Riggs' Madison Parish team for the state championship last year, and any follower of Ferriday and Vidalia basketball the past few years can tell you what a huge accomplishment that was for the Falcons.
The Falcons had breezed through their competition, crushing Lakeview of Natchitoches 90-39, cruising past St. James High 77-59, routing Oakdale 68-53 and walking into the finals with a 67-47 win over Many, which was seeded No. 4.
It was to Ferriday's credit that the Falcons had to have a strong fourth quarter to pull out the win.
It's been quite a year for Ferriday athletics.
And there can be some comparison between the Ferriday football team going unbeaten in the regular season and the basketball team getting to the state championship game.
The Trojans won with a lot of discipline and had different guys step up at different times when a "play" was needed.
But the main thing is, they played as a team. And those two teams brought a lot of respect to Ferriday. Even if it did take a little longer than expected.
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