Scotlandville started like gangbusters but had to weather a Belaire comeback before pulling away for a 63-46 win Wednesday evening at Belaire.
The No. 2 seed Hornets’ quarterfinal win capped a busy day at the East Baton Rouge Parish girls basketball tournament. Top-seeded Madison Prep, Zachary and University High also advanced.
The winner’s bracket will take off Thursday and continue with semifinal play at Belaire on Friday. Madison Prep and Zachary will square off at 4:30 p.m., with Scotlandville and U-High slated to follow at 6 p.m.
Justice Coleman led Scotlandville (6-6) with 18 points and got support from Taylor Holiday (17) and Ry’Ashia Pope (13).
Belaire (6-3) got 23 points from Denetria Wren and 13 from Kianna Maxie as it battled from behind.
“Once we get a team down by 15 points, we can’t let them back in the game,” first year Scotlandville coach Nikki Walker said. “It all starts on the defensive end. We’ve got to learn to put together four quarters of defensive pressure.”
Defensive pressure was no problem at the start as Scotlandville raced out to a 16-0 lead four minutes into the quarterfinal contest. The Hornets forced six turnovers and took a 24-6 lead after one quarter.
In the second, Belaire began to hold onto the ball. The Bengals twice pulled within seven points on baskets by Maxie. The first came at 31-24 with 2:30 left in the half, and again at 35-28 with less than a minute to go.
Scotlandville led 36-28 at halftime.
“The first quarter, we had a lot of defensive intensity,” Walker said. “I don’t know if our legs got a little tired, but they started driving the lane. We’ve got to play better team defense.”
Wren got Belaire going in the third quarter with a 3-pointer to pull the Bengals within 36-31. Later, Wren’s driving basket left Belaire trailing 40-35 midway through the quarter.
From there, Scotlandville took control for good with a 12-4 run to close the quarter. Holiday scored eight during the surge as Scotlandville took a 13-point lead into the fourth. The Hornets never let Belaire get the deficit under 10 points in the fourth.
Scotlandville turned the ball over three times as it tried to milk the clock early in the fourth. Belaire could gain no ground as it made one of five shots from the field.
Belaire went on to connect on just 2-of-13 for the quarter, and Scotlandville closed out its win.
“We got the big lead, and then we kind of let them back in the game,” said Coleman, whose steady play settled the Hornets down. “We still played as a team. We kept each other motivated, and we got the win.”