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|One game stops Tigers|
It appears as if one game could be the breaking point in the playoff dreams for the Neville Tigers (12-17).
A 77-49 loss to district champion Carroll on Feb. 17 seems to have knocked the Tigers down to the No.33 seed in the latest projections of the Class 4A basketball playoffs.
The Top 32 teams will be in the playoffs this season after each sport in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association went to the power ranking system that has been used for football playoffs the past nine seasons.
"We believe if we had beaten Carroll it would put us in the playoffs," head coach Phillip Craig said. "They are the district champions and it would have gone a long way in helping our cause."
Washington-Marion was forced to forfeit 10 wins, including a season opening win over Neville, after it was discovered there were discrepancies between scorebooks.
Washington-Marion dropped down to No.28 in the projected rankings. The drop put teams like Neville on the outside looking in. Neville was on the bubble but projected as the No.31 seed before the loss to Carroll.
Since Washington-Marion was not disqualified from contention, the new rankings could leave Neville and Benton High School out of the playoffs just outside the needed point total to play in the postseason.
The Tigers still had some great and memorable moments with wins over Franklin Parish and Bastrop in district as well as a pair of district blow-out wins over the West Ouachita Chiefs.
Franklin Parish is considered by many to be the up-and-coming program in the district and Neville came away with a 62-55 home victory over the Patriots on Jan. 16.
Neville plans to schedule differently next season and play better competition in the hopes that they will be able to improve their playoff resume.
"There is no incentive for small schools to play us," Craig said. "We have to schedule smart because the power rankings make the playoff landscape a bit different now."
Artez Bynum led the Tigers with 18 points per game. Dellarious Jones averaged 12 points per game.
Neville will graduate two players and return a young team that could compete with Franklin Parish and Carroll for the district championship next season.