By Kevin Shannahan
Friday, February 8th, was a banner day for area basketball fans as the Lakeview Gators squared off against the Red River Bulldogs. The game, an eagerly awaited yearly tradition, was held this year in a packed Prather Coliseum at NSU. Over 1,800 fans gathered to see the junior varsity, boy’s and girl’s team contend for hardwood glory.
The junior varsity teams started off the evening’s action with an exciting portent of the rest of the night’s action. The two teams were evenly matched and neither side wanted to go home empty handed. The Red River JV boys won 29 to 25 in a hard fought slugfest. It is easy to see from the quality of the play that the varsity coaches of both teams will not have a shortage of talent in the coming years.
The number 2 in the state Lady Bulldogs took charge early and made short work of the much younger Lady Gators in a game that was never in doubt. The Lady Gators may have been outgunned on the court, but one would have never known from the players’ attitudes. The Lady Gators never gave up and kept fighting until the final buzzer. They are a hard working team that will benefit tremendously from some more seasoning as they grow older. They, and their coach, are a class act.
The boy’s varsity game was an epic struggle between two very good teams locked in a rivalry stretching back for years. The crowd noise was deafening as fans from both sides cheered on their teams as the lead switched back and forth. It was anyone’s game until the Lakeview boys won the game 62-60 with a basket scored in the last few seconds of the contest.
It was a full evening of hardwood action for a very modest price. Both school’s teams were well coached and it showed in the level of sportsmanship on display. Prather is a fun place to watch a good ball game. The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes to commend both schools for a clean, hard fought game that was simply incredible to watch. We are looking forward to next year’s rematch!