Central Catholic will face its first road test of the postseason today when it takes on Arcadia High School in the Class 1A quarterfinals at 6 p.m.
The contest will feature the senior-laden Eagles against a youthful Arcadia squad that features freshmen and sophomore starters, Central Catholic coach Ree Case said Monday night from Ruston, where the team had traveled to Monday before taking the drive to Arcadia today.
The squad practiced last night at Cedar Creek High School in Ruston.
The last time the Eagles played on the road, the memories were painful as the squad, then ranked the No. 1 seed in Class 1A, was upset by No. 17 seed Louisiana New Tech — Plain Dealing in overtime in the regional round.
Case said this year’s squad has managed playing on the road.
“It’s a lot of the same players, but it is a different team,” he said in reference to last year’s team. “I think we’ve handled playing on the road this year. I think it all comes down to finding different ways to win. This team has just found different ways to win games.”
This year, the squad hopes to do better on the road, and like they had to in defeating Southern Lab, overcome an opponent that has given them trouble in the postseason.
Just three years ago, Central Catholic lost at home to Arcadia in the Class 1A quarterfinals in a contest in which Central Catholic could not make free throws down the stretch.
While the Eagles have players back from that squad, Case said Arcadia doesn’t, noting they start freshmen and sophomores and have a different coach.
However, the school does have a winning tradition.
In Friday’s victory, the Eagles struggled to make free throws, which forced overtime, but they were able to take care of business in the extra period.
They will have to contend with a standout guard for Arcadia who scored 21 points in a road victory at No. 23 Opelousas Catholic Friday. All of his points came via seven three-pointers.
Case said Arcadia has some other players, including a 6-foot, 3-inch center who the Central Catholic coach said is athletic, and rebounds and shoots well.