Third-seeded Scotlandville High School made a powerful statement in its Class 5A bidistrict round playoff game Friday night. It’s one the Hornets have made many times before.
Yes, the offense was nice in a resounding 87-28 victory over No. 30 Hahnville. But it was the defense that made the difference in the game played at Scotlandville.
Scotlandville (29-4) held Hahnville without a field goal in the second quarter, proving the impetus for a 25-2 scoring run that put the game out of reach.
“It’s always about the defense,” guard Lamarcus Lee said. “When we practice, that’s what it’s all about. We know we can score, but the defense makes it easier.
“It makes us better on offense.”
Another guard, Ja’Vonte Smart, finished with a game-high 20 points, six blocked shots and five assists for the Hornets. Lee added 17 points and five assists, while Jordan Adebutu (15) and Garrick Green (10) were other offensive leaders for SHS. Green also had 12 rebounds.
“There’s a reason why they’re seeded No. 3,” Hahnville coach Marcell Fisher said. “We’d heard they could shoot the ball well, and we saw that. Their defense made it hard for us to do some of the things we wanted to do. We’re young and we’ll learn from this.”
Christian McKinney led Hahnville (16-16) with nine points. Fountainette Bradley had seven for the Tigers, who graduate just two seniors.
How tough was it for Hahnville? The Tigers made 4 of 15 shots in the first quarter and trailed 18-8. But it soon got worse.
Scotlandville outscored the Tigers 25-2 in the second quarter. Hahnville’s only points came on free throws by Nathan Kennedy with 5:55 left in the half. HHS missed all 11 of its second-quarter shots from the field.
Lee finished with 13 first-half points and Adebutu added 11, both finishing with more points than Hahnville had as a team.
Green blocked five first-half shots, including four in the second. Three of Green’s blocks resulted in dunks on the other end.
Lee’s dunk off an ally oop pass from Smart brought the crowd to its feet with 3:09 left in the half. Lee added a free throw to make it 35-10 at that point. While Hahnville labored with 4-for-26 shooting in the first half, Scotlandville was a red-hot 16 of 21.
Smart, Lee, Adebutu and Jaylen Hawkins all made 3-pointers from the left baseline, turning it into the basketball version of the hot corner.
“I’ve got to take my hat off to my kids,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said. “We stressed defense and intensity all week at practice. They played hard for 32 minutes and that’s always the goal.”
The Hornets scored 20 or more points in the final three quarters. Even after Sample emptied his bench the SHS squad continued to execute. Malik Williams had two 3-pointers in the fourth-quarter to help lead the bench brigade.
Lee said he’d rate his team’s performance as a 7 out of 10. Like Lee, Smart was pleased but not completely satisfied.
“We can always play better,” Smart said. “I think we shot well tonight, but the defense is where it’s at.”