Scotlandville and Madison Prep are high school basketball titans. Watching Alabama-Birmingham signee Jahein Spencer of MPA and Scotlandville junior Reece Beekman match up one-on-one was a sight to see.
Fans saw another player step into the spotlight Saturday night. Morantz James snared a long rebound and lofted a high-arching shot that fell through the net as the final seconds ticked off to give Scotlandville a 56-55 overtime victory over Madison Prep in the nondistrict game played at Family Christian Academy.
“Coach Sample told us to crash the boards, and I went for the ball and got it,” James said. “And I saw it go through.”
James’ heroics concluded an intense game that Madison Prep (16-6), the defending Class 3A champion, led most of the way. Scotlandville (23-1), the defending Division I champion, rallied from a nine-point, third-quarter deficit.
“It’s like I tell my guys all the time — a basketball game is a marathon, not a sprint,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said. “We did not shoot well, and we turned the ball over. Madison Prep had a lot to do with that. They should have won. Hats off to my guys. … They stayed with it.”
Beekman recognized early that his outside shot was not falling and opted to drive to the basket. He finished with a game-high 28 points that included a driving layup with 1.8 seconds remaining in regulation to tie it.
Madison Prep had the ball after a missed shot. The Chargers turned the ball over, giving Scotlandville the chance to send it to overtime.
How intense was the game? Spencer laid on the sideline with cramps during a timeout in overtime. He re-entered the game when the horn sounded. Spencer led the Chargers with 19 points, and Jason Perry added 10.
“This is a rivalry, and we play this game at this time for a reason. We are both looking for a gauge on where we are," MPA coach Jeff Jones said. "We didn’t take care of the ball at crucial times in regulation and overtime. We missed some free throws. You can’t do that and beat a team like Scotlandville.”
Madison Prep led 13-9 after one quarter. Carvell Teasett opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer for Scotlandville. It was 13-12 at the 7:36 mark. From there, Madison Prep launched a 9-0 run that began with a putback by 6-foot-7 Percy Daniels. It ended with layup by Deziel Perkins with 5:27 to go in the half.
Scotlandville sliced into the MPA advantage and got back within two points at 22-20 on Teasett’s 3-pointer on the right wing at the 3:45 mark. It took the Chargers less than two minutes to push their lead back to eight points at 28-20. A layup by Daniels helped fuel the surge. MPA led 28-24 at halftime.
Spencer opened the third quarter with a jumper from the free-throw line for Madison Prep. The period had its wow moments. The Chargers’ Jordan Randell executed an ankle-breaking cross-over dribble and was fouled when he drove to the basket and arced a shot that bounced high off the rim and through the net. His free throw made it 41-32 with 1:01 left.
Scotlandville bounced back. Beekman arched a shot over Spencer’s outstretched hand as the final second ticked off. He cut Madison Prep’s lead to 41-37 going into the fourth quarter. The Hornets never led in the fourth quarter and only tied it on Beekman’s layu[.
The game offered validation for James, who had a game-winning shot vs. Sophie B. Wright in the Sugar Bowl Classic nullified when officials ruled the clock had run out. On this night, James had enough time.