Scotlandville High seemed on the verge of a monumental upset. However, Oak Hill, ranked No. 9 in the nation, took advantage of turnovers down the stretch to pull away with an 81-67 victory Thursday in the Jordan Brand Invitational.
The tournament was part of NBA All-Star weekend in New Orleans and was played at St. Augustine High.
The Hornets (27-3), who lost in the Class 5A championship game last season, battled back from a 20-point first-quarter hole to come to 67-61 with 4:13 left in the game. However, SHS then committed four consecutive turnovers, fueling a 9-0 Warriors run that sealed the victory.
“I don't know how many we had tonight, but that was the key,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said. “I think (Oak Hill) was a little tougher than us tonight.
“We could have laid down after we fell behind by 20, but we played hard. But you can't win when you make turnovers like that.”
Point guard Ja'Vonte Smart led Scotlandville with 24 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Guards Malik Williams and Reece Beekman, a freshman, had 13 each.
Guard Mack Coleman led Oak Hill with 23, and guard Lendell Wigginton had 21.
Oak Hill (31-4), a perennial prep national power, entered the fourth quarter leading 60-49, a far cry from how the game started, when the Warriors led 33-13 at the end of the first quarter.
“(Scotlandville) switched from a zone (defense) to man-to-man, and we didn't execute well against it,” Oak Hill coach Steve Smith said. “But they're a good team, probably the best in Louisiana, and they played hard. The first quarter was the key.”
Oak Hill led 46-33 at halftime, seemingly toying with the Hornets with 3-pointers and fast-break dunks off steals. However, Scotlandville's 13-point deficit came after it had trailed by as many as 23 points — 39-16 at 4:50 of the second quarter.
The Hornets trailed 43-22 at 2:05 of the quarter, but Beekman drove for a basket, then guard Jalen Hawkins sank three consecutive 3-pointers, the last with 15.8 seconds left.
The Warriors, a program accustomed to playing on big stages against top competition, led 33-13 at the end of the first quarter on the strength of seven 3-pointers — three by guard Devontae Shuler.
Scotlandville tried to keep pace with Oak Hill's up tempo attack, but found it difficult to get inside against the bigger Warriors and wound up launching 3-point attempts, which they missed in the first quarter. However, by the end of the half, led by Hawkins, it finished with eight 3s to Oak Hill's nine.