For Scotlandville to win its seventh straight outright boys basketball district title, the Hornets must win on the road Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Grady Hornsby Gym in Denham Springs.
Surging Denham Springs has won 12 of its past 13 games and is playing its best ball of the season. Denham’s lone loss was 94-55 at Scotlandville.
Defending Class 5A champion Scotlandville (29-2) is 9-0 in District 4-5A and hasn’t lost a district game since the 2010-11 season. Denham (17-12, 8-1) has been stingy on defense, holding opponents to under 50 points in five district games. Scotlandville has scored over 80 points in eight district games.
Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said the senior-led Denham Springs team will be a tough challenge.
“Denham Springs does a good job of running their offense,” Sample said. “They play hard and loose. I like their style of play.”
Denham Springs first-year coach Kevin Caballero said Scotlandville is playing well and his team will have to step up defensively.
“Scotlandville has good size, and they take pride in the way they play on the court,” Caballero said. “We’re a better team now than the first time we played.
“To have a home game on the last playing date with a shot at district is huge for us. We had some injuries early in the season, but we’ve worked ourselves into playoff contention.”
Scotlandville is coming off a 95-34 win over Live Oak. Senior guard Jordan Adebutu scored a season-high 40 points and seven 3-pointers. Sophomore 6-4 point guard Ja’Vonte Smart dished out 12 assists and set up his teammates on senior night.
Smart fills up the stat sheet with 22.3 points per game, 6.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.1 assists and 1.3 blocks. Adebutu (15.6 ppg), 6-6 senior Garrick Green (12 ppg, 8.8 rpg), Jaylen Hawkins (8 ppg) and 6-4 junior Lamarq Williams (6 ppg) are the other starters. Green is back after missing four games from injury.
“Ja’Vonte Smart is an exceptional player,” Sample said. “He makes this team special. He’s stronger than he was last year and more athletic. He can protect the rim as a shot blocker now.”
Denham Springs is led by 6-2 senior guard Torez Kinchen (18 ppg), 6-0 senior Tori Odom (12 ppg), 6-5 senior Bryce Coleman (10 ppg, 7 rpg), 5-11 junior Chad Taylor (8 ppg) and 5-9 sophomore guard Tyre Golmond (5 assists per game).
“Torez Kinchen has been playing well,” Caballero said. “We know we’ll have to limit turnovers and shoot well against Scotlandville.”
Episcopal and Dunham are tied for the District 8-2A lead at 6-1. Dunham (26-5) is at Christian Life (23-5, 4-3). Episcopal (27-4) is at Lee (2-24, 0-7).