Loranger, Sumner, STA drop out of Sugar Bowl
Hammond Star – A massive winter storm is making its way across the Southeastern part of the country and the impending inclement weather is wreaking havoc on Louisiana’s prep sports schedule. Cancellations and reschedulings are abound all across the state and Tangipahoa Parish was no exception.
With a high of 40 degrees and precipitation expected on Friday and Saturday, Parish Superintendent Mark Kolwe announced the cancellation of all after-school activities on Friday and Saturday, which of course includes sporting events.
Several of the area’s teams have already postponed upcoming games this weekend and others have been forced to cancel all together. Ponchatoula, Hammond and Albany are among the postponements with potential make-up dates to be determined and three girls teams were forced to drop out of the prestigious Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic at the Alario Center in Westwego.
Loranger was set to face John Curtis in a Platinum bracket quarterfinal matchup, Sumner was ready to suit up against Salmen in the Platinum consolation bracket and St. Thomas Aquinas was matched up with Houma Christian in the quarterfinals of the Gold bracket. All three of those games have been cancelled and Loranger, Sumner and STA will also be forced to cancel their remaining games on Saturday.
“I talked to (Tournament Director) Kristy (Hebert) today and she said she was just going to redraw the bracket and work with it,” Loranger coach Sean Shields said. “There’s no way that us or Sumner can come down there from a legal standpoint.”
Sumner coach Kara Corkern echoed similar sentiments and although St. Thomas Aquinas is a private school, Lady Falcons coach John White felt it was best to heir on the side of caution.
“We normally follow the public school system,” White explained. “If they decide it’s not safe, we certainly agree with them. It’s a high risk and it’s not worth the risk right now.
“You love to play in a tournament this late in the season,” he added. “A tournament in January is great because normally all the tournaments are done during Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we were looking forward to this one but unfortunately we won’t be able to participate in it.”
St. Thomas Aquinas (9-7) opened the National Prep Classic on Thursday with a 60-35 win over Woodlawn B.R. but will now shift its attention to District 9-2A play, which begins Tuesday on the road against Springfield at 5 p.m.
Loranger also won its first game of the tournament in the Platinum Bracket holding off Karr, 63-60, and next up was a highly-anticipated matchup against John Curtis, which is currently 14-1 on the season.
Allstate Sugar Bowl representatives were hoping to find some sort of solution that would have allowed the three teams to continue playing but the cancellation by Superintendent Kolwe, which was officially announced at noon, left the schools with no other choice.
“I know everybody was ready to see that matchup,” said Shields of Loranger’s game against Curtis. “But it was impossible for us to get there before noon and once (the Sugar Bowl) makes the call, it’s a done deal.”
Loranger is 14-1 this season with its only loss coming in the Naples Holiday Shootout in Florida on December 28 to Gilmour (OH), 58-46. They will resume their schedule Tuesday at 6 p.m. in a District 8-4A matchup against St. Scholastica.
Sumner, the Class 3A defending champion and the winner of last year’s Gold Bracket in the Prep Classic, is 12-4 after Thursday’s 55-45 loss to Ellender in the first round of the Platinum Bracket. The Cowgirls have now lost three straight games including defeats to 2015-16 Class 3A runner-up Parkview Baptist and 2015-16 Class B champ Holden on December 20 and 21 and they’re still adjusting to the loss of Kiara Williams.
The senior point guard tore her ACL during the fourth quarter of the Parkview Baptist matchup and Sumner has struggled through the first few games without its top ball handler. The Cowgirls continue their schedule Tuesday in a District 7-3A contest against Bogalusa on the road at 6 p.m.