There’s no way to predict what will happen when circumstances push a player into the spotlight. Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample had a good feeling about junior Jordan Adebutu on Tuesday night.
The 6-foot-3 Adebutu responded by scoring a career-high 31 points while leading Scotlandville past Denham Springs High 62-57 in District 4-5A boys basketball action at Scotlandville.
“We had a big part of our team out tonight in Garrick Green,” Adebutu said. “I knew with him out I’d have to pick up the slack. And the rest of my team did too, especially the young guys.”
With the win, the Hornets clinched their sixth straight district title. Adebutu was the only player who scored in double digits for SHS (25-4, 10-0).
Sophomore LaMarq Williams stepped into Green’s role in the post and contributed nine points, along with eight rebounds, five of which came in the fourth quarter as Denham Springs (21-8, 7-3) drew ever closer. Freshman Ja’Vonte Smart added seven points for the Hornets.
Torez Kinchen finished with 27 points to pace Denham Springs, while Tuwain Starks had 12 and Altoris Odom added 10.
“We had some chances,” Denham Springs coach Wynn Wingate said. “At one point near the end, we had an open shot that didn’t go in. If it had, it would have been a two-point game.
“Now if we got beat by 30, I’d be upset, but not after a game like this one. We played very hard and held our own against one of the top teams in the state. This will make us a better team.”
It started off as a game of runs. Denham Springs scored the first six points and Scotlandville countered with a 12-0 run. The Hornets took a 14-12 lead into the second quarter, thanks to a floater in the lane by Adebutu.
There was reason for concern with Green sidelined. The 6-4 post player took an elbow to the mouth last week and is sidelined for a week while undergoing oral surgery.
Soon it was not about a shot in the mouth. Adebutu gave the Hornets a much-needed shot in the arm by finishing the first half with 14 points, including 10 in the second quarter. Four straight baskets by Adebutu helped the Hornets extend their lead to 10 points at 22-12 with 5:42 left in the half.
That’s when Kinchen heated up for Denham Springs. Like Adebutu, Kinchen scored 10 points in the second quarter. He made two free throws with 23.6 seconds left to cut Scotlandville’s lead to four at 29-25. DSHS scored 13 of the final 20 points in the half.
Things didn’t look good for the Yellow Jackets when Scotlandville extended its fourth-point halftime lead to 17 points on a 3-pointer Jaylen Hawkins with 2:28 left in the third quarter.
Starks and Kinchen each hit a 3-pointer to pull Denham Springs within 11 points at 49-38 after three quarters. The Yellow Jackets continued to eat away at the Scotlandville lead. A layup by Odom made it a 60-56 with 55 seconds remaining. Adebutu made two of four free throws in the closing seconds to close the game.
“Garrick is the heartbeat of the team,” Sample said. “I think we gained a little toughness playing without him tonight. We kept bending and bending, but we didn’t break. We had some young guys make some plays along with Jordan. That was good to see.”