MONROE — The dynamic duo of Brian Bridgewater and Damian Jones powered Scotlandville High to its second straight Class 5A boys basketball title.
Both Hornets standouts had dunks, but the game was anything but a slam dunk when top-seeded Ouachita High rallied to force overtime. But the second-seeded Hornets had one last surge and scored the first eight points in the extra period en route to an 80-71 victory Saturday night.
The 5A game closed out the Louisiana High School Athletic Association/State Farm Top 28 Tournament at Louisiana-Monroe’s Fant-Ewing Coliseum. A crowd of 7,379 attended the two-game evening session.
“I told them we let it slip away in regulation, and we just had to get back to our brand of basketball,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said. “We had been down this road before and taken everyone’s best shot. We just had to focus on our ball-handling and executing our offense like we have all year long.”
Bridgewater finished with 24 points and a game-high 13 rebounds to be named title-game Outstanding Player. Jones added 21 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots for SHS (34-3).
“It kind of felt like (Ouachita was) done,” Bridgewater said. “I felt like we came out stronger than they did in overtime. We got the ball in the paint with a purpose, and we finished.”
Tre’Lun Banks (18) and Ezekiel Brown (10) also scored in double figures for Scotlandville, which made its fourth straight finals appearance.
Cameron Sims finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds to pace Ouachita (31-5). Chris Sumbler (14), Yettra Specks (12) and Dearius Rollins (10) were the other leaders for the Monroe-based Lions.
With Sims and Sumbler covered by the Hornets defense, Josh Harris missed a shot in the lane with three seconds left in regulation that could have given OHS the win.
“You saw a great ballgame between very good basketball teams,” Ouachita coach Casey Jones said. “I think both teams really laid it out on the line. What more could you ask for when we had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation? It just didn’t go in.”
Scotlandville fell behind 9-2 in the first quarter, with Sims scoring two baskets around the rim and adding a free throw. The Hornets scored 10 of the final 13 points in the period. Jones’ jumper in the lane tied the score at 12 going into the second.
Ouachita soon gained the upper hand again. The Lions scored 13 of the next 15 points and led 25-14 with 3:54 left in the half after a basket by Joseph Mason.
The Hornets didn’t score a field goal until Jones converted on a drop-step move in the lane with 2:32 left. A couple of Ouachita turnovers helped the Hornets seize momentum, and a dunk by Jones tied it at 25 at 1:29.
Specks and Brown traded 3-pointers, and Jones made one of two free throws with 2.1 seconds to give Scotlandville its first lead — 31-30 — at halftime.
Ouachita scored the first basket of the second half. Scotlandville responded with a 9-0 run that was aided by two turnovers. Bridgewater scored seven points in the run as SHS took a 40-32 lead.
The Lions got back within 46-41 on a reverse layup by Specks with 3:36 left. Scotlandville surged once more and led by as much as 13 points. Ouachita countered, but the Hornets took a 58-49 lead into the final quarter.
Ouachita cut the lead to 58-52 not long after Scotlandville’s Jones left the game with four fouls. But Bridgewater came in and the Hornets got rolling, scoring the next eight points. A dunk by Bridgewater made it 66-52 with 4:35 remaining.
The Lions battled back with a 16-2 run, including 15-0 in the final 4:07 thanks in part to five turnovers by the Hornets. Sumbler’s 3-pointer with 39 seconds left tied the score at 68, but Harris’ miss sent the game to OT.
Scotlandville set the tone in overtime with a jumper by Banks in the lane. A layup by Vincent Sanders gave the Hornets a 72-68 lead with 3:20 remaining. A layup by Bridgewater and a basket by Brown put SHS up 76-68 with 1:29 to go, putting the game out of reach.
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