Second-seeded Zachary piles up points, fine tunes defense in 102-52 East Baton Rouge Parish tourney win

ZACHARY — On a night when his team cracked the century mark, the thing Zachary coach Jonathan McClinton was most pleased with was the third-quarter defense.

The second-seeded Broncos outscored No. 15 Capitol 22-4 in that third period. But it was only part of the story for Zachary during a 102-52 victory on the first day of the East Baton Rouge Parish Boys Basketball tournament played at ZHS.

“We scored points in the first half, but what I really wanted to see was for the defense to pick it up,” McClinton said. “I didn’t feel like we played with a lot of energy on defense in the first half. In order to be successful from here on out — in this tournament and the rest of the year — we have to be better on defense.”

With the win, the Broncos (12-2) advance to play No. 7 Glen Oaks in the third of four quarterfinals. Game time is  set for 6:30 p.m. Friday. Top-seeded Scotlandville, the only team to have an opening-round bye, takes on No. 8 Broadmoor, in the 8 p.m. quarterfinal.

Though the first-half defense did not meet McClinton’s expectations, the play of 6-foot-4 Darrion Ward set the tone. Ward used his long wingspan to intercept or knock down passes throughout.

Ward scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the first half as the Broncos built a 60-36 lead. Ward was one of four double-figures scorers for ZHS, which executed its offense well against Capitol’s zone defense.

“We played good, but we can still play better,” Ward said. “There is a lot of room to improve on defense. Coach kept telling us to stay active and bring energy on defense and that was what I tried to do.”

McKINLEY 60, BELAIRE 40: The third-seeded Panthers (11-2) raced out to a 23-6 first-quarter lead. McKinley coach Devan Clark said his team’s intensity waned in the second half — something he says must change when his team takes on No. 11 Woodlawn, which ousted No. 6 Tara 44-41 to advance.

“We did a good job getting ahead early, but I think we got complacent,” Clark said. “If we’re a team that is trying to ascend and take it to another level, we can’t afford to do that. It doesn’t take long for the other team to cut a 20-point lead down to single digits, and we have to know that. But we’ll take this one and move on.”

Cam Davis led a balanced McKinley attack with 11 points. Keveonta Spears added 10.

“We need to pick up our defense and hustle … make sure it is steady for the whole game,” Davis said. “We’re at our best when our defense is solid because our defense turns into offense.”

GLEN OAKS 51, MENTORSHIP ACADEMY 40: Seventh-seeded GOHS (10-7) took the lead early and never wavered despite Mentorship’s attempts to speed up the tempo.

Nicholas Honore scored a game-high 19 points, while Kevin Hymes added 17 for a GOHS team that has eight players.

“It’s a matter of doing what coach (Harvey Adger) tells us to do. He wants us to come out, run our sets and take as much time off the clock as possible,” Honore said. “We’re getting better and have more chemistry than we did early in the year. We want to prove to people that we’re a lot better than they think we are.”

Honore scored 10 first-half points and made two 3-pointers to help GOHS extend its lead.

“We just try to get the most out of the guys we have,” Adger said. “Once we got the lead, I feel like we settled down and took advantage of what (Mentorship) gave us and handled the pressure it put on us.”

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