Scotlandville’s Ja’Vonte Smart dealt with more than just the pain of losing to Edna Karr in the semifinals of the last weekend’s Sugar Bowl Classic.
The sophomore standout went to the emergency room to get stitches in his upper lip afterwards. Four days later, he scored a career-high 35 points to help Scotlandville claim a 71-67 victory over Karr in nondistrict boys basketball action.
“I didn’t know how many points I had,” Smart said. “But I knew I had to come in and give the team everything I had. Karr’s a tough team, and I knew they were going to push us and they did.
“I had the hot hand and my teammates kept feeding me the ball. Beating a team like that … it’s a good win.”
Jordan Adebutu added 15 points and three 3-pointers in the game played Tuesday at Scotlandville (20-2). Kendell Johnson led 4A Karr (12-9) with 19 points, while Vincent Phillips (17) and Tyree Thompson (13) also scored in double figures.
“It was a hard-fought game, and we’d love to have the win,” Karr coach Taurus Howard said. “But we’ll take what we got— another challenge. Our guys don’t shy away from that.
“The record doesn’t look very good. But games like this help us get ready for district and the playoffs. We believe that.”
Smart made six 3-pointers. Defending 5A state champion Scotlandville still had to overcome a series of lead changes in the fourth quarter. A layup by Devin Edinburgh gave Karr a 61-60 lead midway through the period.
Smart powered his way to the basket, making a bank shot and a free throw that put the Hornets ahead 63-61 with 3:46 left. His final 3-pointer made it 68-63 at the 2:41 mark.
Reserve Joshua Roberts made three free throws in the final minute to close the victory for the Hornets, who played with eight players, because guard Jaylen Hawkins was sidelined by an injury also suffered in the Karr game.
“They shot lights out,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said of Karr. “It’s like I told my guys they wanted to come in here and beat you.
“Karr doesn’t get a lot of credit because of their record. But I believe when the smoke clears they’ll be one of the top teams in 4A. I give credit to my guys because we made plays when it counted and defended well at the end.”
John Maxmillion’s 3-pointer 15 seconds into the game helped Karr build a 6-2 lead. Scotlandville scored the next eight points, including a 3-pointer and a jumper in the lane by Smart.
The Hornets led 10-6 and then scored five of the next seven points. Smart contributed another 3-pointer as Scotlandville added to its lead. Two free throws by Adebutu gave SHS a 22-10 edge with 39 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Cougars turned the tables on Scotlandville by scoring 11 of the first 15 points in the second quarter.
Karr got within seven at 35-28 on a layup by Phillips with 2:45 left in the half.
Another surge that included a 3-pointer by Smart put the Hornets ahead by as much as 12 points. But Karr closed to within eight at 44-36 by halftime.
Scotlandville cruised through most of the third quarter, but got outscored 6-0 over the final 3:29. Johnson’s 3-pointer got Karr within five at 56-51 to start the fourth quarter.
The teams traded the lead a couple of times early in the fourth quarter before Smart’s late heroics.