It is the kind of matchup that does not happen often. Scotlandville and Jehovah-Jireh have a combined record of 15-0, so something has got to give.
The give and take between the defending LHSAA champions is exactly what the two coaches want to see. Game time is set for about 7 p.m. Tuesday at Scotlandville.
“Our guys are playing with a chip on their shoulder,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said. “They hear what people are saying; that we won’t be able to win without Ja’Vonte (Smart, LSU freshman). I think we all take that as disrespect for our program.”
Sample said he is coaching angry and that the Hornets (4-0) are playing/practicing that way. The times when a 5A team like Scotlandville plays a Class C team like Jehovah-Jireh are relatively rare. Sample and JCA coach Dirk Ricks, were Istrouma teammates, who opted to start playing each other for a nondistrict game that seems to grow in stature each year.
Ricks sees these games much the way Sample does — as a gauge of where his team stands. The Warriors (11-0) graduated two seniors and return three starters.
“At this point, it is about getting better every day and every time we play,” Ricks said. “We are fortunate to have three starters back and two senior leaders who are good in that role and also help to carry a big part of the load.”
The personnel for the two teams is different than a year ago, but Smart's graduation is notable. However, it is easy to understand the Hornets’ frustration. Scotlandville has made nine straight appearances in either the LHSAA’s 5A or Division I title game, winning six titles during that span.
Title-game MVP Reece Beekman is back for his junior season. The 6-foot-3 Beekman is averaging a double-double in points and rebounds. Another junior, 6-5 Jonathan Horton, has moved into a key role. David Thomas (5-10) also is a returning starter but is sidelined with a concussion.
Also playing notable roles are two juniors, 6-2 Tai’Reon Joseph and 6-0 Carvell Teasett. Sophomore Zaheem Jackson (5-10) also is part of the rotation. Highly regarded Bonnabel and Catholic High, a team also in last year’s Division I final four are among Scotlandville’s wins.
Jehovah-Jireh opened its season with a win over Crescent City, the team it beat in the Division IV title game in March. Point guard Jaron Davis (5-10) and post player Timothy Jackson (6-4) provide the leadership for the Warriors.
Ricks’ son, freshman John Paul Ricks, leads the team with a 20.0 scoring average. Davis is at 18.0 and Jackson averages a double-double in points/rebounds. Junior Roderick Dominique (6-1) and sophomore Brandon Horton (6-3) are part of the JCA lineup.
“Another chance to play and another chance to grow and learn,” Ricks said.
St. Amant’s John “Hot Rod” Williams Gold Dome Classic tips off the week of boys tournament action Wednesday with a cross section of local teams, along with teams from the bayou area and some from other parts of the state, including Sulphur and Airline.
The nonbracket based tourney runs through Saturday. The Brusly Invitational boys tourney is made up primarily of local teams and also is more of a round-robin format.
There is only one girls tournament, but the St. Michael/Lady Warrior tournament, has enough action to equal multiple tournaments with games being played at six sites in a nonbracket format. The SMHS tourney also attracts teams from around the state.