John Curtis was that school.
Correspondingly, so, too, did the Patriots collect three of the top four individual honors on the Class 2A All-State boys and girls basketball teams selected by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
Senior guard Malik Morgan and Coach Mike Krajcer were chosen as Outstanding Player and Coach of the Year on the boys team while Barbara Farris earned Coach of the Year accolades on the girls side.
Iota guard Allison Baggett completes the foursome as Outstanding Player on the girls team.
Morgan, a 6-foot-4 signee with LSU, successfully transformed his game from that of high-scorer to team leader in helping the Patriots de-throne Riverside’s two-time defending state champions.
Morgan averaged 18.1 points, five assists and 4.3 rebounds to earn District 10-2A Player of the Year honors and help the Patriots earn the No. 1 seed in the state playoffs that ended a historic 5-0 run.
Krajcer completed his 16th season with the Patriots by directing Curtis to its first state championship in boys basketball. The Patriots capped off a 30-3 season with a 57-48 victory against Riverside that culminated the River Ridge school’s first Top 28 appearance in more than two decades dating to a 1991 trip to the finals.
Baggett, a 5-foot-9 senior, averaged 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists to lead Iota to a 30-3 record in the regular season and an undefeated District 5-2A championship while earning District 5-2A Most Valuable Player honors. A ULL signee and second-team All-State selection as a junior, Baggett continued as a driving force in advancing the Lady Bulldogs to the state finals and a final record of 34-4.
Farris in her second season as Curtis coach directed the program to its third state championship in girls basketball and first since the Lady Patriots win consecutive titles in 2009. A former WNBA, Tulane and St. Martin’s standout, Farris guided the Lady Patriots to a 32-1 record that included a season-ending 20 consecutive victories and a 10-0 mark in District 10-2A.
After winning a second consecutive district championship, Curtis culminated a roll through its portion of the Class 2A state playoff bracket by defeating Iota, 55-42, in the state finals in a pairing of the respective No. 2 and 1 seeds. The 13-point differential was Curtis’ lower margin of victory in the playoffs.
Morgan was the lone Curtis player chosen to the boys All-State team that is comprised of two five-member first and second teams.
Riverside senior Ricardo Gathers, Class 2A’s Outstanding Player the past two seasons, earned a third consecutive first-team berth and served as Malik’s chief competition for Outstanding Player honors.
St. Thomas Aquinas senior Steven Wronkowski, Ville Platte senior Cody Jones and Episcopal-Baton Rouge junior Brian Bridgewater complete the boys first team. Bridgewater joins Gathers as a repeat first-team selection.
Curtis senior Derreyal Youngblood and Ville Platte junior Breonna O’Conner head the group of remaining first-team selections on the girls team. They are joined by Pickering sophomore Sami Thomas and St. Thomas Aquinas junior Amber Donnes. Youngblood and O’Conner are repeat selections on the girls first team.
Mansfield junior Verlan Hunter, Lakeside senior T.J. Carpenter, Riverside senior Donald Thomas Jr., Jonesboro-Hodge senior Kevin Cottingham and Dunham senior Jonathan Honore make up the boys second team. Jones was a repeat selection on the second team.
University senior Briana Oglesby, Curtis sophomore Kolby Morgan, Jonesboro-Hodge senior April Leonard, Doyle sophomore Taylin Underwood and Episcopal-Baton Rouge junior Mary Melissa Hoover comprise the girls second team.