Bayou Border Battle will feature top teams, players from Louisiana and Texas

Published 6:52 pm Sunday, December 18, 2022

The Bayou Border Battle has yet to play a game, but it could quickly become one of the premier prep basketball tournaments in the state.

The slate includes some of the top boys and girls teams from Louisiana and Texas, including some defending state champions, as well as big-name players and coaches.

“This started off just real small,” Sulphur head coach Adam Coleman said. “I got a couple of buddies, Todd Sutherland at East Chambers and Brad Jeffcoat at LCM who has two kids that are being recruited.

“We were going to do something with just a couple of teams, then word got out and before we knew it we had 20 teams that wanted to be involved in it. It turned into something much bigger. It is some bragging rights between the two states, and it will be a really fun event.”

The tournament starts today at McNeese State’s Legacy Center with four games, then six games on Tuesday. Tickets are $10 each day, but you have to pay to reenter.

“We have kept it low so families can come in,” Coleman said. “A lot of coaches that are involved are appreciative of that.

“A lot of the tournaments that they have been going to like this have been $15 admission or things of that nature.”

Possibly the biggest game of the tournament will be the last at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when Zachary (9-2), the two-time defending Louisiana Class 5A state champion, takes on the two-time defending Texas 5A state champion Beaumont United (12-1).

Beaumont United has one of the top players in the nation in Wesley Yates (Sr., 6-4, G, 21.6 ppg), who is ranked No. 37 in the ESPN Class of 2023 100. Zachary has four players ranked in the top 40 in their class in the state of Louisiana by prephoops.com in Brandon Hardy, Amir Chaney, Xavier Ferguson and Chris Lindo.

Other top 40 players in the prephoops.com state rankings include Barbe’s JaQuise Richmond and Jabbari Barry, Peabody’s Kevin Jones, Jordan Matthews and Demichael Chew, Iowa’s Dashawn Ceaser and Madison Prep’s Jayce Depron and Josh Smith.

Top girls players include Barbe’s Mikaylah Manley and Ariel Williams, plus Fairview’s Ella Reeves and Reesie Jinks.

Two teams enter the tournament undefeated in Iowa (10-0) and Madison Prep (8-0).

The coaching side is loaded with two 1,000-win coaches in Peabody’s Charles Smith, who has led the Warhorses to nine state championships, and Little Cypress-Mauriceville’s Eddie Michalko, who has over 1,100 wins plus four state titles at Hackberry and four runners-up at Lacassine. Fairview girls coach Kyle Jinks is up to 932 wins and looking to lead the Panthers to a 13th state championship, while East Chambers boys coach Todd Sutherland has won over 800 games in his career plus two state titles. Sutherland is the older brother of former Sam Houston and Iowa head coach football coach Russ Sutherland, who now coaches at East Chambers.

“You have some coaches between Coach Smith at Peabody, Coach Jinks at Fairview and Eddie Michalko at LCM, who just got win 1,110 last week maybe,” Coleman said. “He had most of those wins in Louisiana.

“Todd Sutherland is another one at East Chambers. Some of these guys have more wins than most coaches in the nation. It has a lot of big names in it. Obviously, it is in the Legacy Center, which I think is one of the nicest facilities in the south. We hope that is it going to draw a lot of local fans from Louisiana and Texas.”

Bayou Border Battle

at Legacy Center

Monday

Fairview (20-5) vs. Summer Creek (Houston, Tx., 16-1), 3:30 p.m., girls

Fairview (17-3) vs. Orangefield (Tx., 12-2), 5 p.m., boys

Peabody (8-4) vs. Summer Creek (Houston, Tx., 13-3), 6:30 p.m., boys

Sulphur (9-4) vs. Vidor (Tx., 9-6), 8 p.m., boys

Tuesday

Barbe (13-1) vs. Little Cypress-Mauriceville (Orange, Tx., 14-3), Noon, girls

Vinton (9-3) vs. Hardin-Jefferson (Sour Lake, Tx., 12-2), 1:30 p.m., boys

Barbe (9-4) vs. Little Cypress-Mauriceville (Orange, Tx., 12-2), 3 p.m., boys

Iowa (10-0) vs. East Chambers (Winnie, Tx., 14-1), 4:30 p.m., boys

Madison Prep (8-0) vs. West Brook (Beaumont, Tx., 13-4), 6 p.m., boys

Zachary (9-2) vs. Beaumont United (Tx., 12-1), 7:30 p.m.