After consecutive setbacks by a combined seven points against top-flight competition, Zachary basketball coach Jon McClinton was looking for identifiable traits that would define his team.
The Broncos responded with a sizzling offensive effort that boasted three double-figure scorers and a defense that limited their opposition to a season-low point total in a convincing 62-41 road victory Friday over St. Michael the Archangel.
“We’ve been trying to figure out what type of team we are, and I was pretty pleased with the way we played on both ends of the floor,” said McClinton, whose team previously lost in the EBR final 48-46 to Scotlandville and then 54-49 against University High. “They definitely made believers out of me. This is the first game where we shot the ball pretty good. All in all, we put both phases together.”
Guard Brandon Rogers topped Zachary (13-3) with 20 points, while Jordan Decuir added 12, Jalen Bolden 10 and Jeremiah Fisher nine.
The Broncos shot 46% (25 of 54) and made 36% of their 3-pointers (8 of 22) to complement a defense that limited the Warriors to 35% percent shooting (15 of 43) and without a 3-pointer (0 of 12).
It was the first loss of the season for St. Michael (8-1), which played its first game in 2½ weeks because of coronavirus-related issues that resulted in the cancellation of three games and the Warriors dropping out of a tournament.
Guard Lance Williams was the Warriors' lone double-figure scorer with a game-high 22 points.
“I knew this was going to be a big challenge,” St. Michael coach Drew Hart said. “If they didn’t shoot as well, maybe the score stays a little bit closer. But we’re not going 0 for 12 from 3 a lot this year. I’ve got too many guys that can shoot the ball.”
Zachary never trailed, turning a 15-4 first-quarter lead and into a 23-10 second-quarter advantage with 2:47 remaining before halftime with Rogers scoring nine points and Decuir seven in the first half.
St. Michael climbed back to within 26-19 on Anthony Igiede’s inside basket at the 6:10 of the third quarter, but Bolden triggered a 10-0 run when he rebounded his own miss and Decuir drove the lane for an emphatic one-handed dunk for a 40-19 lead.
The Broncos, who shot 57% in the second half, stretched their lead to 53-28 with 4:42 left in the game, highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers from Rogers and Bolden midway through the fourth quarter — capping a stretch in which they outscored the Warriors 27-9 after Igiede’s field goal.
“We have not faced anything like that defensively this year,” Hart said. “The snowball effect was that they shot lights out.”