To the surprise of no one, the Bossier Bearkats have gotten off to the best start among parish boys basketball teams this season.
In fact, the Bearkats are the only parish team that has a winning record four weeks into the season.
Here is a look at how each team has fared so far and their future prospects.
Bossier (11-2): The Bearkats returned the bulk of a team that reached the Class 3A state championship game last season so their early success is hardly unexpected.
Bossier avenged one of its two losses last week, defeating Ouachita 63-62. The Bearkats’ only other loss was to Class 4A power St. Thomas More, which is 13-2.
Two returning All-Parish players, forward Tevin Robertson and guard Devonte Hall, have both played well.
But they’ve gotten plenty of help from Rashard Owens and Deorvion Robinson.
The Bearkats will be one of the favorites to win the Doc Edwards Invitational, which begins Wednesday. They will also be favored to win another District 1-3A title.
Airline (2-8): The Vikings hope to have three-time first-team All-District 1-5A guard Hayden Hildebrand back this week for the Doc Edwards tournament.
Hildebrand underwent knee surgery for a torn meniscus at the end of November after the football season.
The Vikings have lost six straight but they were competitive in all six.
Andrew Latson and Demetrius Early have provided much of the scoring.
If Hildebrand is as good as he has been the last three years and can blend in with his teammates, there’s no reason the Vikings can’t make a run at another District 1-5A title.
Airline will probably have to win the district to make the playoffs, though, because of the slow start.
Benton (6-8): The Tigers continue to show improvement under coach Tim Cram.
Benton needs just one more win to equal its victory total of all of last season.
Guards DJ Bratten and Kordavion Stewart, and post player LeeAaron Alexander have provided most of the scoring.
The Tigers have also gotten a boost from the addition of Jordan Shaffer, who is also the starting quarterback and an outstanding pitcher.
The Tigers, though, will need a very good 2013 to improve their power rating and make the state playoffs. They can automatically qualify by winning District 1-4A, but that seems unlikely with Huntington as the favorite.
Haughton (5-6): The Bucs need just three wins to equal their total of last season.
Like just about every other parish team except Bossier, Haughton has played well at times and struggled at times.
Tyler Grigsby, Nakia Deveraux and Ryan Hatchett have been first-year coach Brian St. Andre’s most consistent scorers.
Last season, the Bucs didn’t win a game in District 1-5A. Don’t expect that to be the case this season.
But it will be an uphill battle for the Bucs to make the playoffs. They will have to get on a big run to improve their power rating.
Parkway (3-7): The Panthers have shown the ability to compete since getting their football players in late November.
The have lost three in a row but had chances to win the last two.
Chris Yates and Brodrick Jefferson have been the most consistent scorers.
Freshman Keondre Wudtee has also stepped up and played well at times.
The Panthers are a long shot to win the District 1-5A title and make the playoffs, but a winning season is certainly within the realm of possibility.
Louisiana New Tech at Plain Dealing (3-6): The Lions have won three of five since an 0-4 start.
Their other two losses during that stretch have been by eight and two points. The eight-point loss was against Arcadia, the only Class 1A team they’ve played so far, on Dec. 11.
Cardarrious Ray, a first-team All-Bossier Parish selection last season, and Deaumante Johnson have been consistent scorers.
New Tech got off to a slow start last season and went on to win the District 1-1A title and reach the semifinals of the state playoffs.
With the bulk of that team back, including football players just now getting into basketball shape, it shouldn’t be long before the Lions get on a roll.
They should have no problem winning a weak District 1-1A and making the playoffs. But they will need to string together some wins to improve their power rating and get a decent playoff seed.