Before tipoff, Zachary High coach Kenny Almond said if Scotlandville High played as well as they were capable of, the Broncos could be in trouble Tuesday night.
It took most of the first quarter. When Hornets’ freshman Ja’Vonte Smart drove to the basket for a commanding, one-hand dunk in the face of a Zachary defender late in the period, Almond’s prediction starting becoming a reality. Scotlandville notched a 66-60 at home in the District 4-5A opener despite the fact that Zachary cut into its deficit in the final minutes.
“They got (hot streaks) a couple of times, and that was the difference,” Almond said.
The fastbreak jam ignited a 6-0 run for the Hornets to finish the first quarter. Smart wasn’t done. Along with the help of junior Garrick Green who threw down several of his own powerful dunks, Smart led Scotlandville (16-4, 1-0) on a 13-0 run to give his team a led they would never relinquish.
Smart finished with a team-high 17 points, including three 3-pointers. Green registered 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting.
“I scored well, but I picked up a lot of fouls and made them go to the free throw line,” Smart said. “It feels good (to get past the first district game) … but I have to pick it up before I go to the next game.”
Zachary (10-8, 0-1) attempted to fight its way out of the hole Scotlandville put it in by putting together a brief run of its own to cut the lead to four points early in the second half. However, the Hornets quickly squashed the comeback effort to pull away with the resounding victory.
The Broncos shot 23-for-29 from the free throw line.
Matt Williams scored a game-high 19 points for Zachary, while Shyron White contributed 18 points.
“That helps a lot when you make them,” Almond said. “And we’ve had a few games slip away from us where that wasn’t a good thing. To win games, you have to make free throws.”
Despite the win, Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample wasn’t happy with the performance his team put on the court. After a semifinal exit from the East Baton Rouge Parish Tournament, Sample was hoping for a one step back, two steps forward type of situation, but couldn’t help but focus on his team’s miscues, saying the Hornets played in spurts throughout the night.
“I don’t think we did as well as I wanted us to,” Sample said. “The best thing I can get from that is that we won. We played in spurts early on and we missed layups and they made free throws.
“We’re going to go back and make adjustments.”