AAU state tourney coming to parish

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 9, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / June 9, 1999

LAPLACE – Some of the best young talent in girls’ basketball in the state will soon be coming to LaPlace.

The 1999 State 14-year-old Girls’ AAU Championship will be held June 17-20 at St. Charles Catholic High School and Reserve Christian School.This is the first time that an AAU state championship tournament will be held in St. John Parish.The New Orleans Southern Belles will be the host for the tournament, the fourth time that the organization has hosted the event. The previous threetournaments have been held in the Belles’ home base of Metairie.

“We wanted to promote girls’ basketball around here,” Keith Gillies, fund- raising chairman for the organization said. “We have had some goodbasketball players come out of the River Parishes. I think it’s great for usand for St. John Parish to have something like this.”Gillies said that 14 teams from around the state have already entered and that he expects more to do so. Feature teams include the host SouthernBelles, which will have one team in the tournament. The New OrleansDominos, which has won several state championships, will have two teams in the field. Teams will also be coming from Monroe, Opelousas,Lafayette, Morgan City, Shreveport and Baton Rouge.

The tournament is double elimination with the semifinals and finals to be played on Sunday. The top two teams will qualify for the AAU NationalChampionship tournament to be held in Virginia Beach, Va. Teams that playin the state tournament also qualify for the NICAAU national championships.

The Southern Belles has over 200 players in its organization with 11 teams, a developmental squad and 18 coaches. Tryouts for the team areheld at the end of March with practices in April and games lasting through July.

The 14-year-old team is coached by Chris Oufnac, the head basketball coach at Sacred Heart and an assistant coach at Loyola University. Oufnacis assisted by Lindsay Faulk, the starting point guard for Loyola. Do BeePlaisance, the head coach at Loyola, is the program coordinator.

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