It’s early in the prep golf season, but Zachary High coach Kenny Langlois likes what he’s seen so far from his young team.

The Broncos finished one shot short of advancing to the regional tournament a year ago, and Langlois thinks that disappointment has fueled his team’s competitive approach heading into this season.

“I think that made them hungry this year,” Langlois said. “Their work ethic needs to be strong for them to be an excellent team, and the guys are starting to realize that. They’re working hard.”

Langlois is relying on veteran leadership from Brady Bennett. The team has no seniors and Bennett is the only junior. The squad also features three sophomores and one freshman after losing only one player from last year’s team.

“For us to be consistent, Brady and Tyler Armstrong will have to play to their abilities on a regular basis,” Langlois said.

The two golfers have been consistent leaders through the three early competitive events so far this season, with sophomore Armstrong shooting a team-low 40 for nine holes in a three-team event at the Bluffs against St. John of Plaquemine and West Feliciana on Feb. 25. He also topped the field in a dual match with Live Oak at Copper Mill, shooting a 36 for nine holes.

Bennett also has been playing well. He won the Southern Livery Junior Classic, part of the Arrowhead Junior Golf Tour, Feb. 13-14 at Carter Plantation. Bennett fired a two-day 1-over-par 145 (72-73) to capture the overall boys’ title against other golfers from across the state.

“So far I’ve played pretty good this year but not where I’d like to be,” said Bennett, who said he’s talked to Louisiana Tech, Southeastern and Nicholls State about eventually playing collegiately. “The team is playing better (than last year) so we should be stronger by the end of year.”

Langlois said it’s ultimately going to depend on the improvement of some of the younger players.

“We have a few guys on the team, if they can get their scoring down, we’ll have a good shot to get to the next step (regionals),” Langlois said. “The biggest thing is the mental part of it right now — keeping it together for nine holes and making them understand golf is both an individual and a team sport. You might have a bad day, but the other guys depend on you for your score for the team.”

Panthers oust Broncos from playoffs

The No. 24-seeded Zachary boys basketball team led No. 9 McKinley 54-51 with eight seconds to play, but the Panthers’ Donald Hunter hit a three-pointer at the buzzer, sending the first-round Class 5A playoff game into overtime.

McKinley then outscored the Broncos 18-8 in overtime and came away with a 72-64 win.

Demoine Bowie had 16 points, and Calvin Adams added 11 as Zachary finished the season 19-12 under first-year coach Jonathan McClinton.

Lady Broncos bumped from playoffs

The Zachary Lady Broncos were seeded 15th going into the Class 5A playoffs but were ousted by second-seeded Mt. Carmel, 50-29, in the second round. Bryanna Langford led the squad with 10 points as they finished their season 24-10 under first-year coach Michael Stephens. The team defeated 18th-seeded Landry-Walker 48-40 in the first round.

Send sports news, photos and stats to Howard Arceneaux at harceneaux@theadvocate.com.