Sicily Island set to take on White Castle in LHSAA semifinals

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sicily Island High School has never won a basketball state championship, but the Tigers are now just two games away from taking home the trophy.

The top-ranked Tigers (30-6) will face No. 4 White Castle (24-13) in the LHSAA Class 1A semifinals at 3 p.m. today at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles, La.

“We are most excited about just getting back to Lake Charles,” Sicily Island coach Curtis Shavers said.

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The Tigers have made two semifinal appearances in recent years, including its best finish in school history as state-runner up in 2013-14.

Senior Devion Dunbar was a just a freshman that year, but Shavers said the experience in a big game could help.

“The first two or three minutes (of the game) will set the tone,” Shavers said.

Shavers’ faith in Dunbar’s leadership is understandable, too, since Dunbar has been crucial to the Tigers’ accomplishments so far this season.

In last Friday’s quarterfinal overtime victory over Centerville, 75-69, Dunbar led the Tigers with 25 points including the game-tying layup to send the contest into overtime.

“I’m hoping (Devion) can be the go-to guy,” Shavers said. “If he can get things going early, it will get things on track for the for the other guys.”

Shavers said if he is worried about one thing, it would be getting into foul trouble since he expects the matchup to be aggressive on both sides.

After seeing junior post player Jim Atkins foul out during the third quarter of Friday’s win, Shavers said he might have to shift some players around if it happens again.

“It will depend on the situation,” he said. “If it’s early, I will probably make changes, but if it’s late, they will have to play through. We just have to go out and do the things we need to do.”

Shavers also said his team’s dedication will be vital in continuing its success.

“This is a group that stuck together and believed in each other, even when I didn’t think they would do as well as they have,” he said. “They felt like they have been underdogs, and then they went undefeated in district. To get this far, they are excited about all of that.”