The wry smile on the face of Carlos Sample set up the perfect punch line after Scotlandville rallied to notch a 50-40 victory over Madison Prep on Saturday night.

“Madison really pushed us in the first half,” Sample said, pausing briefly. “And we made an adjustment at halftime. That adjustment was to get off your butt and play basketball. It was that simple.”

Things are seldom simple when the two boys basketball powers meet in their annual nondistrict game at a neutral site. The game played in front of a capacity crowd at BRCC did have some drama with Class 3A MPA holding the upper hand early. But the Hornets (20-2) got to the Chargers (12-5) late by scoring 33 second-half points.

“I’ve very proud of the kids and how they executed the game plan,” MPA coach Jeff Jones said. “The thing about Scotlandville is this … you know the margin for error is very small, because they are talented and have a senior team. We played so hard, but we just made mistakes at bad times.”

Tai’Reon Joseph led Scotlandville with a game-high 15 points, while Virginia signee Reece Beekman added 10. The duo scored six points each in the fourth quarter to help the Hornets pull away. Louisiana-Monroe signee Elijah Tate, who had 10 points, was the only Madison Prep player to finish in double figures.

The Chargers set the tone in the first quarter by using the size of 6-foot-8 sophomore post player Percy Daniels and others to full advantage, slowing the tempo. A bucket by Beekman gave Scotlandville the first points. But MPA scored nine of the next 11. A 3-pointer by Tate upped the Chargers lead to 9-4 with 2:12 remaining.

MPA took a 14-6 lead into the second quarter. The Chargers managed to hold the Hornets at bay throughout the second quarter. Scotlandville took the lead for the first time on a 3-pointer by Joseph with 13 seconds remaining. Tate answered with a long 3-pointer from the top of the key as the clock expired to give MPA a 19-17 lead.

But the Chargers ran out of steam. Scotlandville seized control by outscoring MPA 15-8 in the third quarter. A basket by Tate got Madison Prep within four at 37-33, but the Chargers got no closer in the fourth quarter. Beekman hit four free throws in the final minute to ensure Scotlandville’s lead stayed at double digits.

“We defended well in the second half, and we had to all start crashing the boards because they were all bigger than us,” Joseph said. “We had to make them play our game.”

Email Robin Fambrough at rfambrough@theadvocate.com