Former Delta basketball coach Jesse Burnette and Theodis Johnson have guided current their teams into the state finals.
Delta High no longer exists and the doors to The Oven have long been closed, but two of the Mustangs' former basketball coaches continue to carry on the school's rich basketball tradition. Jesse Burnette and Theodis Johnson will lead their teams into state championship games this week at ULM.
All 14 LHSAA championship games (boys and girls) will be played at Fant-Ewing Coliseum, Wednesday through Thursday.
Chasing his fourth state championship ring, Burnette will coach his ninth state championship game when Carroll faces District 2-3A rival Farmerville on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Johnson, the former head boys coach at Delta and Bastrop, has guided Dubach into the Class C girls state finals. The Lady Hornets will play Saline on Friday at noon.
Burnette directed Delta to its only state championship in 1995 as the Mustangs defeated Plain Dealing in the Class 2A finals at LSU.
Seven years later, Burnette collected his second state championship ring at Carroll in 2002.
After a very brief retirement, Burnette assisted Roger Stockton, his former Northeast Louisiana University (now ULM) teammate, at River Oaks.
Since returning to the Carroll bench, Burnette has directed the Bulldogs to a state runner-up finish in 2010, followed by a state championship in 2011. In what was considered an upset, Carroll stormed back from a 12-point fourth quarter deficit to stun Abbeville 59-49 in the 2011 3A state finals at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette's Cajun Dome.
Besides the 1995 championship season, Burnette guided Delta to state runner-up finishes in 1980, 1982, 1993 and 1997 during two separate stints with the Mustangs.
Burnette's career also includes stops as an assistant at ULM and head coaching jobs at West Ouachita and Sterlington.
Johnson, a former Grambling High basketball standout, coaches both the boys and girls squads at Dubach. Johnson is looking for a better result this season after taking both teams deep into the playoffs a year ago. Johnson's boys team advanced to the 2012 state finals, losing to Pelican 67-35 in the championship game.
Friday's game is a rematch of the 2012 semifinals when Saline edged the Lady Hornets 51-48. Pelican, which hoisted both Class C state championship trophies, bested Saline 42-38 in the finals.
The complete championship schedule:
* Wednesday — Class C boys: Atlanta vs. Pelican, 2 p.m.; Class B girls: Lacassine vs. Fairview, 6 p.m.; Class B boys: Madison Prep vs. Simsboro, 8 p.m.
* Thursday — Class 1A girls: West St. John vs. Vermilion Catholic, noon; Class 1A boys: Metairie Park Country Day vs. Arcadia, 2 p.m.; Class 3A girls: Rayville vs. Baker, 6 p.m.; Class 3A boys: Farmerville vs. Carroll, 8 p.m.
* Friday — Class C girls: Saline vs. Dubach, noon; Class 4A girls: St. Thomas More vs. Salmen, 6 p.m.; Class 4A boys: Northside vs. St. Thomas More, 8 p.m.
* Saturday — Class 2A girls: John Curtis vs. St. Thomas Aquinas, noon; Class 2A boys: St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Riverside, 2 p.m.; Class 5A girls: Southwood vs. Natchitoches Central, 6 p.m.; Class 5A boys: Ouachita vs. Scotlandville, 8 p.m.