LAKE CHARLES — Freshman guard Ja’Vonte Smart already had a ton of accolades. Now the 6-foot-3 guard has a place in Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Top 28 lore.
Smart made a 3-pointer with five seconds left to send the game to overtime and then scored eight more points in overtime as third-seeded Scotlandville escaped with 62-60 victory over No. 7 C.E. Byrd Tuesday night.
The Hornets’ top 3-point shooter, Jordan Adebutu, had fouled out with 14.7 seconds. Byrd standout Chad Lott missed both free throws, leaving the door open for Scotlandville.
Smart, who finished with a game-high 17 points on 5-of- 11 shooting, marched through it, making a jumper from the top of the key to tie the game played at Burton Coliseum. It was his first 3-pointer of the night, though he would add two more in overtime.
“In the huddle coach was like ‘who is going to shoot the game-(winning) shot,’ ” Smart said. “I said, ‘I’ve got this.’ ”
With the victory, the Hornets (32-4) advance to the 5A title game for the sixth straight year. Scotlandville faces top-seeded Natchitoches Central (29-2), a 49-43 winner over Higgins in the other semifinal. The game is a rematch of last year’s final won by NCHS 60-53. A crowd of 3.589 attended the four-game session.
The 6-foot-3 Smart, who Sample said is a distant cousin of former McKinley player and Indiana hero Keith Smart, led a balanced attack. Adebutu had 15 points with four 3-poointers. LaMarcus Lee and Garrick Green each had 12. Green pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.
Demetri Mahoney also had 17 points for Shreveport-based Byrd (26-6), which made its first tourney appearance since 1997. Kory Ashley (15), Lott (13) and Montrey Thomas (11) also paced the Yellow Jackets.
NATCHITOCHES CENTRAL 49, HIGGINS 43: The Chiefs (29-2) scored 12 straight points in the final three minutes to oust No. 20 L.W. Higgins.
Austin Guy scored in the lane with 46 seconds left to give NCHS the lead for good at 45-43. Brandon Rachal led the Chiefs with 15 points. Guy added 11. Nathan Bailey and Melvin Frazier each had 13 for Higgins (22-12).
Higgins, the highest seed to make tourney had grabbed the lead in the third quarter with an 18-11 run. The fact that NCHS’ 6-9 Cameron Lard was in foul trouble and eventually fouled out in the fourth quarter helped the Hurricanes. Lard was limited to six points and three rebounds and just 15 minutes of action because of foul issues.
NEW LIVING WORD 62, ELIZABETH 58: Defending champion New Living Word had just enough to outlast Elizaberth in the first a Class C semifinal.
Third-seeded NLW (31-10) advances to play No. 1 Atlanta (31-5) in the Class C final set for 4 p.m. Friday. The Lions pushed their lead to 10 points, at 48-38, through three quarters. But No. 2 Elizabeth got within two at 60-58 on a 3-pointer by Colby LeFauci with 1:03 remaining.
Xavier Roper, who led NLW with 22 points and 12 rebounds, blocked a shot in the closing seconds to help clinch the win. Xavious Williams added 17 and Kwantavious Harri had 11 for the winners.
LaFauci had a game-high 23 points for Elizabeth (27-8). Kolby Friday (14) and Trey Maddox (12) were other leaders for Elizabeth.
ATLANTA 56, GIBSLAND-COLEMAN 36: Atlanta outscored No. 4 Gibsland-Coleman 37-17 in the second half its Class C semifinal.
Taren Sapp I scored 18 second-half points to help power the Bulldogs (31-5). He finished with a game-high 25 points, while Lashard Powell added 13. Xavian Haulcy led Gibsland-Coleman (22-7) with 18 points.
Gibsland-Coleman led 11-8 after one quarter. The scored was tied at 19 at halftime. Atlanta took control with a 16-9 third-quarter run.