SIDELINES, with Tryve Brackin
White Castle High head basketball coach Ronald “Sam” Johnson had to race off from his Bulldogs’ state championship game Saturday evening to take a police escort ride to Brusly to give away his daughter away at her wedding. It was the end to a wonderful day for the longtime Bulldog coach to say the least.
Johnson had to miss the post game interview to make his fast run to Brusly. He got their at 6:15 p.m. and barely held up the ceremonies…taking I-49 and then Hwy. 190.
Despite the extremely long Saturday, Sam took the time to give me a telephone call Sunday morning to talk about the victory. He wanted to know how assistant coaches Joe Jones and Sylvester Lavigne handled the post game comments (very well, I must say) and to tell me how very proud he was of his Bulldogs.
“Coach (John) Bueche won two White Castle (basketball) championships and now I won my third. But of all of them, this one is something special. This team was a never quit group and they made history by winning both the state football and basketball championships. I could not be prouder of these young men,” explained Johnson.
The Bulldog coach pointed back to the summer time when he and a handful of his players made a trip to Family Christian Academy for a round robin of practice games against a trio of teams coached by his former players (host Jamie Holmes of FCA, Todd Russ of New Iberia, and Troy Green of Livonia). When his team rallied for a last-second winning basket by Daniel Allen against Russ’ 5-A New Iberia club, Sam went into a frenzy of excitement. You would have thought his team had won the title they did Saturday in Lafayette.
“I knew then, that this could be a very special group of players. They never, never quit the entire season. They lost some games, but fought in each one of them to the end. And they refused to lose the important close games during the season. We took big ones in district over Christian Life and East Iberville with late-game rallies and we did it twice in the tournament to win it all. That is a very special quality…to refuse to lose, to fight to the end to win,” explained Johnson.
The Bulldog coach went on to say how special his senior starting trio of Daniel Allen, Quadry Allen, and 1-A tournament Most Valuable Player Ronald Martin became to the team.
In the post game interview, it was Coach Lavigne who put it into perspective when he noted that Quadry and Ronald were with he and Coach Jones in the interview room and Daniel Allen was back in the dressing room “watching the championship trophy”.
RONALD MARTIN told an area daily sportswriter and me that he plans on working out under LSU football guidelines during the remainder of the school year to get prepared for his freshman season as a Tiger gridiron player.
He said he would likely take part in the District 8-A track meet in a couple of events and would advance with the team if he qualified for regional and state events. However, he plans to stick to his LSU guideline workouts rather than concentrate over the next few weeks on track and field.
MEANWHILE, former White Castle athlete and Family Christian hoop coach Jamie Holmes had to settle for state runner-up in Class C basketball Saturday, prior to the Bulldogs’ title win.
Holmes’ top two players, 6-8 center Joseph Lawson and guard Merwyn Landry, got into foul trouble and that severely hurt the Flames’ chances in their 79-61 title loss to Pleasant Hill. With the duo out of the lineup for several minutes of the game and the Flames limited in players and talent off the bench, Pleasant Hill gained momentum and charged to a lead.
SJHS HALL OF FAME…Nominations are now being collected for possible induction into the Monsignor Robin Memorial St. John High Athletic Hall of Fame.
Male and female athletes who graduated from SJHS at least ten years ago as well as coaches who have departed the school at least ten years ago are eligible for nomination. Also eligible are individuals who have contributed outstanding services to the athletic program during a period of time at least ten years ago.
To nominate someone, send a brief resume of their accomplishments and a reason why they should be a Hall of Fame member should be sent to: St. John Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 357, Plaquemine, La. 80764
Deadline for nominations is April 11.
“We have a number of former male and female athletes who now qualify for hall induction. They deserve the recommendation. We had some outstanding athletes at the school two and three decades ago. All it takes is a page of accomplishments. You can research articles in the POST SOUTH at the Iberville Parish Library with little or no trouble,” commented longtime Hall Committee member and Hall of Famer Mickey “Rico” Rivet.