In a showdown for the District 5-5A boys basketball lead, Dutchtown travels to East Ascension on Friday night in one key games in the area.

Dutchtown (20-5) defeated fifth-ranked East Ascension 64-52 in the first meeting. Both teams are 5-1 in district.

Other notable games include defending state champion and top-ranked Scotlandville (24-1, 6-0) at Zachary (18-10, 4-2) in District 4-5A, and the Glen Oaks girls (5-14, 1-4) playing at Baker (17-5, 4-0) in District 6-3A.

East Ascension coach Kenny Almond is a believer in Dutchtown.

“This is the best boys basketball team Dutchtown has ever had,” Almond said. “They’re playing together and are on a roll. They can offensive rebound and work to find mismatches on offense. We’re going to have to play our best game to beat them.”

East Ascension (23-3) has won four straight league games, including a 64-59 win over St. Amant.

“That win over St. Amant gave us confidence that we can win a close game,” Almond said.

“Overall, we’ve played well at times. We’ve had trouble sustaining our effort and focus.

“If we can clean up our own mistakes, I think we could be pretty good.”

Ja’Cardo Hawkins, a 6-foot-8 senior, averages 22 points for EAHS. Javaughn Williams (15 ppg) and 6-3 point guard Jeremy McInnis (9 ppg) are other key contributors.

“Jeremy is really playing well at point guard,” Almond said. “He’s playing good defense and taking care of the ball.”

District 6-3A showdowns

The Baker girls have won 28 straight district games the past four seasons. The Buffaloes beat Glen Oaks by 31 points in the first meeting.

“We don’t like losing district games,” Baker coach Michael Stephens said. “We’re trying to improve and get better for the playoffs. Our man-to-man defense has been good.”

Seniors Anitra Whitfield (13 ppg), Jacquis Dodson (10 ppg) and Tia Hughes (6 ppg) and 5-10 junior Eugenea James (18 ppg) lead Baker (17-5, 4-0).

The GOHS-Baker boys game will also be intriguing. Glen Oaks (15-11, 4-1) and Baker (10-12, 3-1) are the top teams in 6-3A. GOHS saw its four-game league winning streak snapped with a loss at West Feliciana on Tuesday. The Panthers beat Baker 74-62 in the first round of league play.

Going for No. 4

Scotlandville has beaten Zachary three times this season. That includes a 56-19 win in the EBR Parish tourney final. In the first district meeting, SHS won 60-42.

“We were a bit intimidated by Scotlandville earlier in the year,” Zachary coach Bakari Beckwith said. “Scotlandville is known for getting a quick start. We dug ourselves too big a hole.”

“We anticipate a playoff-like atmosphere at Zachary,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said. “Playing four times is tough on both teams. The good thing is both teams know the personnel. Zachary is a scrappy team, and they’ll be ready to play. It’ll be a nice test for our kids.”

Scotlandville has size in 6-6 Brian Bridgewater, 6-9 Damian Jones and 6-8 Jared Sam. Zachary is led by 6-3 senior Daven Moss (14 ppg), Bryant Lang (11 ppg), 6-3 Rasheed James (10 ppg) and point guard Jordan Harrison (7 ppg).

“We’ve got to rebound and limit Scotlandville’s easy baskets,” Beckwith said. “We’ve had our fair share of adversity this season, but we’re maturing and ready for this challenge.”