If there is any hint of anxiety about playing in a Class 1A state championship team, the North Central High boys’ basketball team certainly is adept at showing any signs of nervousness.
Maybe that’s because Hurricanes’ first year head coach Basil Brown II is not allowing that to happen.
Or possibly it’s because North Central has won two 1A boys’ championships since 2019 and the Hurricanes are determined not to let last year’s disappointment happen again.
Brown says he’s been trying to keep it real this week as the Hurricanes prepare to face No. 6 White Castle Friday at 1 p.m. inside Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles in a game that decides the 1A boys’ title.
“I’m pretty subdued at the moment and I think the guys on the team feel the same way. We have kept it kind of loose, something that we have been doing all year. We are sticking to our regular schedule, going to class, making sure shirts are tucked in, keeping away from the phones, that sort of thing,” Brown said during a Thursday phone conversation.
Brown’s philosophy is that basketball whether during practice or during game time, should be fun a stress reliever.
“Basketball should be the fun time. When we get out on the court, that’s when we get our release. Why should we allow basketball to add to the stress that the guys already have?” Brown added.
North Central enters the championship game as the top seed.
The Hurricanes also have three seniors — Reginald Stoner, Aaron Johnson and Jamarey Cane, who have played in the ‘Canes three previous championship teams, giving North Central an experienced platform for performing on a larger stage.
Last year the Hurricanes were also seeded No.1, but lost in the semifinals.
North Central defeated fourth-seeded Lincoln Prep (80-77) on Monday in one semifinal, while White Castle used an overtime to beat second-seeded Delhi 64-51. In the extra period, White Castle outscored Delhi 15-2
In the quarterfinals White Castle additionally defeated a higher seeded team in No 3 Northwood-Lena (67-59).
Although White Castle is a sixth seed and had to use a comeback to beat Delhi, Brown said White Castle has earned his respect.
“White Castle beat a number two team and they have some big kids. The main thing is White Castle is playing well right now,” Brown said.
Stoner and sophomore McKennis Stevens each scored 23 points in the semifinal win over Lincoln Prep.