ZACHARY — No district title was on the line. Neither team had much of a chance to improve its playoff seeding. That didn’t stop Broadmoor High and Zachary High from playing one of the most intense games of the season.
Three free throws — two by Malik Jackson and one by Brian Smith in the final 38.7 seconds — lifted Broadmoor to a 63-61 victory over Zachary in a District 4-5A finale played Friday night at ZHS.
“I think that was the most intense game we played all year,” Smith said with sweat dripping from his brow seconds after the game. “I was nervous when I went to the free throw line. We got just enough.”
Smith scored a team-high 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Bucs (17-12, 7-5), who will likely be the No. 25 seed when the LHSAA’s playoffs begin next week. Jackson and Devlin Carlin each had 13 for the Bucs, who beat ZHS four times this season.
Zachary’s Shyron White scored a game-high 24 points. Sam Bienemy added 10 for the Broncos (16-13, 6-6). The Broncos figure to be a 28 seed.
“We needed a game like this to get us ready for the playoffs,” Broadmoor coach Terrence Gillette said. “With it being senior night and because we’d beat them three times we knew Zachary would be ready. The atmosphere was great.”
The Broncos led early, but trailed much of the way. The boisterous crowd erupted when D.J. Collins scored on a layup that have ZHS a 49-48 lead with 5:19 left in the game. The Broncos hadn’t led since the first quarter.
With the band playing and fans screaming each team a shot went up, Zachary seemed to finally have the upper hand.
The Broncos led by as much as five points, but never could pull away. Broadmoor tied it at 59-59 on a free throw by Smith with 1:31 left. A Jackson free throw gave the Bucs a 60-59 lead at the 51.4 mark.
White countered with two free throws to put Zachary in front 61-60 with 49.4 seconds to go. Two free throws by Jackson gave Broadmoor the lead for good with 38.7 remaining. Smith extended the lead with 10.4 seconds left after a ZHS turnover. The Broncos got one last chance 0.9 seconds left but Matt Williams collided with a couple of BHS players while going up for the ball as the clock ran out.
“We still have to learn how to win games like this,” Zachary coach Kenny Almond said. “I can’t fault the effort. Both teams played hard, but I think a big factor was that we dug ourselves a hole early.”
The lead changed hands three times before Broadmoor went on a 12-0 to close out the first quarter. A free throw by Carlin and a 3-pointer by Smith ignited the Bucs’ surge that ended with a layup by Tarvis Knighton.
Broadmoor took a 19-11 lead into the second quarter and scored 22 seconds in on a layup by Jackson. Then the Bucs went cold. BHS didn’t score for minutes. Zachary had trouble closing the gap.
The Broncos had chances from the free throw line but made just 5 of 10 chances from the charity stripe in the period. Bienemy’s put back of a missed free throw got Zachary within three at 21-18 with 3:54 left in the half.
Another Broadmoor run —an 8-3 surge — gave the Bucs a 29-21 halftime edge. BHS led by as a much as 10 in the third quarter, but a 7-1 run got Zachary within four, at 46-42.