Just 11 months ago, the boys basketball teams from Scotlandville High and Denham Springs High couldn’t avoid each other.
After beating DSHS to end the regular season in District 5-5A, Scotlandville had to turn around and play the Yellow Jackets again to open the Class 5A playoffs.
It will be a different situation when second-ranked Scotlandville (20-3, 5-0) hosts No. 5 Denham Springs (20-3, 4-1) at approximately 7:15 p.m. Tuesday.
â€œIt’s a big game tomorrow definitely,â€ Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said. â€œOur focus is on doing whatever we need to do not only to win, but also to get better. I’m sure it’s the same for them.
â€œI’ve got to see Denham a couple of times and I’m impressed with them. They’ve got about six guys they rely on, and they not only play hard, they play well together.â€
The 5-5A game between the Hornets and DSHS helps highlight a busy Tuesday schedule in the Baton Rouge area.
On Feb. 26, 2010, Scotlandville, then seeded second in 5A, battled its way to a 65-57 win over Denham Springs. From there, the Hornets went on to finish as the Class 5A runner-up.
Now, both teams are ranked. Denham Springs has forged an impressive record despite having just two starters return from last season.
The two coaches agree Tuesday’s game is not at all about where the two teams have been or where they might end up later this season. This game is about the here and now.
â€œI honestly think they are a better team than they were last year,â€ Denham Springs coach Wynn Wingate said. â€œThey’re more balanced than they were last year. We’re a team that gets the most we can out of what we have.
â€œWe’re not the biggest team. We play hard and we’re balanced, too. When you have three or four guys who average in double figures it’s hard to decide who or what to take away. We have different guys step up and lead us each time, which I think is to our advantage.â€
Could that make tonight’s game a three-dimensional chess game of sorts? More than likely. And the coaches admit that is part of the challenge.
Guard Levi Wright leads Scotlandville with a 15.0 scoring average. Cleveland Thomas is next at 13.0, followed by 6-foot-8 post player Zarif Basil at 12.0.