How Simpson used a consistent approach to earn Class C state basketball championship

LaMar Gafford
Alexandria Town Talk

LAKE CHARLES — Simpson isn’t the flashiest team, but it is very consistent.

All season, the Broncos (23-5) held on the No. 1 spot in the Class C power rankings and Thursday, they won their second  state title in three years with a 73-65 victory in overtime against Ebarb (11-11).

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“What a battle, I’m proud of these guys,” Simpson coach Jade Losavio said. “It was two small communities coming together watching good basketball. These young men played their hearts out.”

Simpson junior Ethan Nash (1) tries to go up for two points in the Class C championship game Thursday.

After a loss last season in the  state semifinals, the Broncos’ goal all season had been to get back to the title game with seniors Rhett Petre, Preston Miller and Zach Vargas leading the way.

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Simpson’s leading scorer is Petre with 15 points per game, but it has a balanced attack as all five starters average at least eight points per game.

Thursday, it was Vargas’ turn to  stand out as he won Most Outstanding Player honors with 32 points and 10 3-pointers as the Broncos rallied back from an 11-point second quarter deficit. Petre also had a great game with 26 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals.

“If you want me to be honest, I suck at shooting,” Vargas said. “I usually go 3-for-20 in a game, but I guess this was my night. I shot well. I was mind blown when they came up to me and said I had 10 threes, I was like ‘Whoa, I’ve never done that before.’ My head was just in the game and I wanted to win it all. I had the (championship) trophy on my mind the whole time.”

“There’s only two things you can control, your attitude and your effort,” Losavio said. “You can’t control officiating and you can’t control shots going in.”

The Simpson Broncos defeated the Ebarb Rebels, 73-65, in the Class C title game Thursday at Burton Coliseum.

Losavio thought that his group of seniors would be a special one as early as fifth grade, as he tried to build a program that won only two games in 2012.

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Now they leave Simpson (23-5) with a pair of titles and five straight state tournament appearances after winning 17 of its final 18 games after starting 8-4.

“These guys kept me in the gym and helped me out,” Vargas said.

“The coaches in Little Dribblers started developing those guys and that’s how you build a program,” Losavio said. “Each year, you try to build on what they did and improve it.”