LAKE CHARLES — There’s always something to be said for consistency. Second-seeded Scotlandville made yet another statement with a 60-45 victory over No. 11 Ouachita Parish in a Class 5A semifinal Tuesday night.
It wasn’t the highest scoring game for the Hornets or a mistake-free effort.
With sophomore star Ja’Vonte Smart scoring 20 of his game-high a game-high 25 points in the second half, Scotlandville did what it does so well — advance to the Class 5A title game at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Boys Top 28 tournament.
“Getting here seven straight times … that’s just a higher power and fruits of the labor,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said. “With that being said, I want to commend Ouachita on making it here and having a great season. They play hard.
“I also want to take my hat off to my guys. We know on this stage one possession can cost you a game. They came out and played hard and put themselves in position to play Friday night.”
With the win, Scotlandville (34-2) advances to the 5A title game for an unprecedented seventh straight season. And for the third straight year the Hornets will play top-seeded Natchitoches Central (32-3). The teams, which split the past two titles, meet at 8 p.m. Friday at Burton Coliseum.
Scotlandville came out with its typical aggressive defensive plan. Smart picking up two quick fouls wasn’t part of the game plan. With the 6-foot-4 guard on the bench, the Hornets played smart and to their strengths.
Junior guard Jaylen Hawkins stepped into the void and scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half, knocking down 3 of 6 3-pointers.
“I knew when Jay (Smart) went to the bench I had to step up big,” Hawkins said. “We played Madison (Prep) earlier this year, and it was no different than today. I had to step up.”
Garrick Green had a game-high 14 rebounds, while Jordan Adebutu finished with nine points and 10 rebounds. Zachary Hannibal led 11th-seeded Ouachita (23-12) with 11 points, while Jayvonta Gill had 10 and Jekamiah Head added eight.
“They play aggressive and so do we,” Head said. “I think they wanted it more.”
Ouachita led in the early going. A 3-pointer by Hawkins, a putback by Green and a layup by Joshua Roberts fueled an 11-0 run that sent Scotlandville into the second quarter with an 18-7 lead.
A four-minute scoreless drought in the second quarter was costly for Ouachita. By the time Willie Poole made a free throw with 2:15 left Scotlandville had rolled off seven more points. The Hornets led 31-16 at the halftime.
Smart scored 10 points in both the third and fourth quarters. Scotlandville stretched its lead to as much as 19 points. Those totals help offset the Hornets’ uncharacteristic 16 turnovers.
“I just told the team we got to finish the game,” Smart said. “We had to keep playing the way we were when I was on the bench. We fought through.”
Hawkins’ last 3-pointer opened the fourth quarter and made it 48-29. Ouachita got no closer than 14.
“I just finished telling those guys we had a great season,” Ouachita coach Jeremy Madison said. “Scotlandville is a great team, a great program, a great tradition. I knew coming in we had our hands full. I’m proud of our guys for the way we battled in the second half.”