The shot heard around Louisiana on Friday night was made by guard Austin Veal.
Veal took the ball the length of the court in seven seconds to score, giving Zachary a 40-39 victory over Scotlandville in District 4-5A boys basketball action Friday night.
It was Scotlandville’s first official loss to a Louisiana team this season and is also the Hornets’ first district loss since 2010, said SHS coach Carlos Sample. A Hall of Fame game loss to Madison Prep a couple of weeks ago doesn't count, according to the LHSAA.
The victory was a much-needed shot in the arm for the Broncos (18-9, 4-2) and a reminder for Scotlandville (24-2, 5-1) not to take any team or game for granted. Instead of having the lead in 4-5A, the Hornets are now tied with Walker (20-7, 5-1) and the teams play Friday night at WHS.
“It was exciting, and it was a big win … something I’ve been waiting for,” Zachary coach Jonathan McClinton said. “All year long we’ve missed chances to beat good teams, falling just a little short. Now we have to build on this.”
The list of missed chances by the Broncos includes a showdown with McKinley in the final of the EBR boys tournament and a loss to Walker on Tuesday.
There was drama Friday night. The score was tied several times. Star guard Ja’Vonte Smart made two free throws that gave Scotlandville a 39-38 lead with eight seconds remaining. Veal took the ball down the court, scored and was fouled with one second left.
Veal missed the free throw on purpose and that final second ticked off the clock. As the final two weeks of the season approach, it won’t quite be the same old story for either team, which is a good thing for local fans.
Another challenge next week for Scotlandville is a game with traditional national power Oak Hill Academy at St. Augustine in New Orleans. That game is part of next week’s NBA All-Star festivities. Zachary seeks more more wins to close out its district schedule.
McClinton’s explanation of the game plan the Broncos used Friday night might surprise some people. No gadget defense was involved. Zachary played man-to-man defense, sometimes opting to double team Smart. The goal, McClinton says, was to slow Smart and limit the scoring chances for the rest of the team.
And there you go, sometimes the simple approach still works best.
Shooting for playoffs, record
Former LSU star Ed Palubinskas is looking to make a run at the Guinness World Record for most consecutive free throws made. He estimates it will take about eight hours to attempt making 5,500 straight free throws.
Before that can happen, the 66-year-old Palubinskas will lead the Silliman Institute boys basketball team in a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools playoff game. Palubinskas previous had two coaching stints at Central Private. He took over as the Wildcats coach a month before the season started. Silliman is 12-8 with only a few games remaining.
“So far it has worked out pretty well,” Palubinskas said. “It is about a 25- to 30-minute drive from Central, and that part is relaxing. It took some time in the beginning, especially since I came in so late, but (the Silliman players) are understanding the things we need to do to win.”