Hicks was one of the top teams in Class B this season, and with the playoffs approaching, it is ready for a deep run.
The No. 4 Pirates hosts No. 29 Maurepas Friday night at 6 p.m. in the first round of the LHSAA playoffs.
"Most of the season, I knew that No. 4 was a possibility," Hicks head coach Neil Standifer said. "In the final week of the season, we actually had a chance for the 3-spot but we lost last Tuesday at Castor. We actually beat the No. 3 seed Hathaway at Hicks Friday night, but it wasn't enough to move us up."
Maurepas went 10-20 this season and 0-6 in District 7. Despite its record, Standifer knows his guys will have to show up and play.
"From what I've seen and heard so far, I feel like we match up pretty well," he says. "Although there is a seeding difference, we don't want to come in overconfident. We have to execute our game plan and do what we need to do to come out with a win. But I feel good about our chances."
Junior Mitchell Kinchen leads Hicks with 18 points per game, along with 8.4 rebounds a game. Senior Daniel Miller averages 15.6 points per game with four assists, and junior Trace Williams puts up 12.5 points per game and 9.4 boards.
"We have one senior that does a lot of scoring for us, but a lot of our scoring comes from juniors and a sophomore," Standifer said. "A lot of these guys are the same guys that been on the court the last two years for me. A lot of them have grown a lot and got experience from that. I lean on my senior, but I lean on those other guys, as well. Most of the time, our scoring is balanced. We may have two guys that have close 20 one game, then the next game, it could two other guys."
Hicks, Simpson and Hornbeck each claimed a top-10 seed in Class B– with Pitkin getting the No. 11 seed– making competition in Vernon Parish tough.
"We've played Simpson four times this year and beat them once," Standifer said. "The other times have been close games too. It was a benefit to play them several times. Our district was really competitive and came out 10-0 in district. There were only a couple of games that we lopsided. Most of the games came down to the fourth quarter."
The 2017-18 season marks Standifer's third season as head coach for the Pirates, and he believes his experience, along with the players' experiences, is what helped them make the jump.
"The first year, we were kind of getting acclimated, and last year, we were in a lot of games but lost late in the game," Standifer said. "This year, we were able flip those and win a lot of those games. We were able to have a big win streak that we took into districts. It just took some time."
Every teams' goal is to make it to state at the Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles for a chance to win the state champion, and Hicks is no different.
"Our first goal is we want to get to Lake Charles," Standifer said. "Ultimately, we want to win a state championship, but we know that Hicks hasn't been in the top 28 in 12 years, so we want to get there first. When we get there, we want to win it."