Carlos Sample doesn’t teach chemistry in a classroom. But the Scotlandville High School boys basketball coach knows plenty about the actions and reactions needed to make a team successful.
Even though they Hornets (8-1) are off to a fast start, Sample said there are still some on-the-court chemistry lessons his team needs to master.
Sample’s solution? Enter Landry-Walker (4-4) and let the two teams mix it up for 32 minutes Friday night.
“You know, these guys have played pretty well so far,” Sample said. “But any time you add new players and have guys take on different roles, it takes some time to develop that chemistry.
“We’re just not there yet. That’s why you go out and play games like this. They push you. They challenge you to raise the level of your game.”
Game time is set for about 7 p.m. for the contest that helps highlight Friday’s schedule of games and tournaments.
A game between Scotlandville and a New Orleans power like Landry-Walker was a natural to set up. Landry-Walker beat rival East Jefferson to win the Class 4A state title in March. Scotlandville saw its string of two straight Class 5A state titles end with a title-game loss to Natchitoches Central.
The teams have already met once this year, with Scotlandville handing Landry-Walker a loss in its tournament in New Orleans. Things have changed significantly since then.
“This is going to be the first time we’ve had everybody together for a game,” Landry-Walker coach Brian Gibson said. “To be honest with you, I’m not sure what to expect or how we’ll play. But I do know what to expect from Scotlandville. They’re talented and they’re always prepared. No matter what happens, we’ll both get better. I think it’s fair to say both of us expect to go far in the playoffs.”
Sample has warned his team to prepare for a different Landry-Walker squad than the one they faced a couple of weeks ago. Blake Paul, a 6-foot-9 Tulane signee, was ruled eligible on Wednesday by the LHSAA. Paul played for East Jefferson a year ago.
The Chargin’ Bucs graduated Oklahoma State signee Tyree Griffin in the spring. Lamar Peters has stepped into the point guard role and is averaging 17.9 points per game. Two football players also have joined the Landry-Walker lineup since the two teams played.
Scotlandville’s lineup also has undergone a makeover since the graduation of point guard Ezekiel Brown, who signed with Southern-N.O. LeMarcus Lee, a Tennessee-Chattanooga signee, has joined the lineup and is averaging 18.0 points per game. Freshman point guard Jevonte Smart, Jordan Adebutu and Garrick Green all average about 10 points per game for the Hornets.
“It’s all about getting better and being humble,” Sample said. “It’s day by day and game by game.”