2017 Bulldogs notch school's 7th boys state hoop title
Reports out of White Castle and Baton Rouge’s Community Radio (96) station early in the Bulldogs’ boys basketball season was that the team’s head coach Troy Green was getting a lot of criticism from home fans.
Community Radio attended a narrow home loss to 5-A state playoff bound McKinley High and reported on loud comments coming from the WCHS fans in the second half of the game.
Reports continued to persist that a small group of WC fans “doth protest”. Even Coach Green, a former Bulldog hoop great and Southeastern La. U. standout, commented to area press that he heard a lot of early season complaints about tangling with tough pre-district foes and thereby lessening WC’s rankings.
All that easy talk ended Friday night in Lake Charles as Green and his 2017 edition Bulldogs captured the Parish school’s seventh state basketball title.
It was Green’s turn to follow in the steps of legendary Bulldog head hoop coaches John Bueche and Ronald Johnson. Bueche got the WCHS hoop program up to legendary level in the late 1970s and early 1980s with the school’s first two titles (both in Class 2-A). His assistant coach, Johnson, took over the reins for a number of seasons and led Bulldog clubs to four more state crowns and as many as six state runner-up finishes.
The state champion Bulldogs finished the season with a 25-12 record. Having to tangle with top seeded Division IV Southern Lab in District 6-1A competition and a handful of upper classification foes left the locals with an uncharacteristic final mark for a state champ…And they howled at times from the stands.
However, the La. High School Athletic Assn. prognosticators saw things differently from the start. The Bulldogs were ranked fourth in the Class 1-A Public power ratings very early. Tough competition was noticed. And the locals responded with the title run, claiming the state title trophy and not fourth place in the tourney 1-A field.
The Castlemen won the crown with a 60-47 victory over highly regarded Tensas, using a 17-4 point spread in the second period. Senior Ja’Tyre Carter led the scoring effort for WC with 19 points and a dominated effort under the boards. Princeton Young added 13, while Bulldogs D.J. Pierce, Unique Young, and Tre Melancon tallied between 9 and 7 points apiece.
It was a great team effort on both sides of the crown under the pressure of a state title game atmosphere. But the players were guided by a trio of coaches, who all experienced big basketball games for White Castle as prep players.
Hats off to Coach Green and his assistant mentors Chris Landry and Davon Carter for their leadership. Each one learned the leadership game and the X’s and O’s from former Coach Ronald Johnson.
Plaquemine High has had its great success on the football field and the court, while St. John has forged years of victory on both the gridiron and baseball/softball diamonds. But in my tenure at the POST SOUTH from 1977 to 2012 covering Parish sports, no one has out achieved as high as White Castle High’s boys hoop program. The title win last week pushed the string of state basketball playoff berths to 44 consecutive seasons.
Other Baton Rouge Metro area teams to notch titles were
Scotlandville High in Div. I Private (with a narrow 53-52 victory over Brother Martin) and Madison Prep in 2-A Public (65-61 victory over Rayville). Taking runner-up honors were Jehovah-Jireh in Div. V Private, Dunham School in Div. IV Private, and University Lab in Div. II Private.