WALKER — Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample stopped short of calling his team’s defensive effort against Walker its most complete of the season, but the Hornets' first quarter was good enough to stand by itself.
Scotlandville took control from the opening tip limiting Walker to two first-quarter points. It was enough to propel the Hornets to a 70-54 win over the Wildcats in the District 4-5A opener for both teams.
“I wouldn’t say (our defense) was the best (overall this season), but the first quarter was,” Sample said. “We got a little complacent in the second quarter and thought about scoring the ball instead of stopping them.”
What a first quarter it was for Scotlandville (27-3, 1-0).
Two minutes into the game, Brian Thomas’ dunk brought Walker into a 2-2 tie. From there, with Scotlandville contesting everything, Walker missed its next 11 shots while the Hornets raced out to a 16-2 lead after one quarter.
Walker (20-7, 0-1) got as close as eight points in the second quarter, and 10 points in the third, but that was it.
“We couldn’t have had a worse start in the first quarter,” Walker coach Anthony Schiro said. “We got some good looks, but we just couldn’t put the ball in the hole.
“Scotlandville is a great team flying around and making it difficult on us, but I never would have imagined we would score only two points in the first quarter.”
Scotlandville’s Tai’Reon Joseph made four 3-pointers and led all scorers with 26 points. Virginia signee Reece Beekman made 8 of 15 from the field and finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
Walker’s Jalen Cook, an LSU signee, didn’t fare as well, going 4 for 22 from the field. Brian Thomas topped the Wildcats with 24 points while Cook scored 16.
Scotlandville was 27 of 56 (48.2%) from the field and out-rebounded Walker 42-36. The Wildcats made 19 of 56 shots (33.9%), with much of the damage coming in the first quarter.
Scotlandville’s offense came to life midway through the first quarter. Beekman fed Zaheem Jackson for a score, and added two driving baskets as the Hornets took a 10-2 lead. The Hornets, who got blocked shots from Beekman and Jonathan Horton, went on to make 6 of their last 8 shots in the quarter.
“This was a great game between two good teams,” Sample said. “I just told (the team) every game is a big game … We want to get better in what we do and play hard. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon.”