Scotlandville, Istrouma lead EBR tournament field

Scotlandville only has two losses on its schedule this season, one of which came in a 45-44 heartbreaker to Istrouma early in December.

There’s no doubt that revenge is on the Hornets’ mind as they enter the 2012 East Baton Rouge Parish Tournament beginning Wednesday at Southern University with the potential for a rematch in the championship game Saturday. But even with vengeance in sight, Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample knows his team still has work to do despite earning the top seed in the weekend’s tournament.

“I think we’re heading the right direction right now,” Sample said. “We just need to make sure we’re still in the business of hunting people and not being hunted. Whoever we play, regardless of (who it is), everybody is going to play above their heads when they play Scotlandville.”

The Hornets have a first-round bye in the double elimination tournament and will face the winner of No. 8-seed Northest and No. 9-seed McKinley, who play in the tournament’s opening game at noon Wednesday.

No. 2-seed Istrouma has the other bye and will play the winner of No. 7-seed Central and 10th seeded Baker, who play at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Wednesday’s schedule will feature four more games: No. 6 Woodlawn vs. No. 11 Southern Lab at 3 p.m., No. 5 Glen Oaks vs. No. 12 Belaire at 4:30 p.m., No. 4 Tara vs. No. 13 Broadmoor at 6 p.m. and No. 3 Zachary vs. No. 14 Capitol at 7:30 p.m.

“I think all the teams have a good chance,” Istrouma coach Aaron Pearson said. “Central, they play hard, they play good defense. Zachary, they’re always tough. Woodlawn also, they’re a tough team. All those teams that are on the route to the championship of that game are tough. Then, of course, Scotlandville, who’s ranked No. 1 in the tournament.”

Scotlandville and McKinley get to sit back and watch the slew of games Wednesday before playing its first contests Thursday night — an benefit Sample said he’ll take full advantage of.

“We get a chance to get at least another extra day of practice which is something that we’ve really been needing,” Sample said. “We get a chance to scout a few teams and come up with a two-day game plan that can help us.

“We need to use that day off to our advantage.”

After four quarterfinal games and two elimination games Thursday, the final four of the winners bracket play Friday, along with two more elimination games.

The tournament concludes Saturday with games for seventh, fifth and third places, followed by the championship game at 7:30 p.m.

Scotlandville and Istrouma, who have played three times this season, are already eyeing each other from across the bracket.

They are hoping to cross paths for the fourth time this season with a tournament title on the line.

“We’re no stranger to each other,” said Sample, an Istrouma alum and former Istrouma basketball coach. “We would love to play them again being that they’re the only loss we have on our record, and we know that we didn’t play our best ball. We just need to take it one possession at a time.”