Written by Kyle Valdez
The Scotlandville Hornets have been on a roll all season en route to a 19-1 record against in-state Louisiana opponents. The ESPN #19 nationally ranked high school team is as battle-tested as they come, playing in the City of Palms Classic and Monteverde Classic in Florida - playing against the likes of 5-star recruits Sharife Cooper, Scottie Barnes, and Day’Ron Sharpe.
Led by McDonald’s All-American nominee Reece Beekman, the Hornets are advertised as the heads-and-shoulders best team in the state. On Friday night, one of the biggest in-state tasks was set up for a tough district contest in Walker. With many storylines surrounding the highly anticipated game, the biggest was the matchups of LSU commit Jalen Cook vs. Virginia commit Reece Beekman and the frontcourt matchup of Brian Thomas vs. Jonathan Horton.
Despite a packed gym in favor of Walker, Scotlandville went on a 14-0 run in the first quarter and never looked back. The Hornets dominated on the defensive end all night and were led by Tai’Reon Joseph, Reece Beekman, and Jonathan Horton. Tai’Reon “Scooter” Joseph’s explosiveness catalyzed Scotlandville’s offense by throwing down multiple dunks in transition and knocking down four triples for 26 points. Virginia commit Reece Beekman posted a double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
Walker’s slow start ultimately ended up costing them the game, as both teams kept pace for the final three quarters. Walker trailed 16-2 after the first period and could only cut the lead down to 8 in the second half. Virginia football commit Jonathan Horton was the main reason for Walker’s 2 first quarter points as he disrupted every shot in the paint and crashed the boards.
Horton discussed the early start and his defensive mindset, “I feel like we came out early and dominated from the jump, we put pressure on them and made them make bad decisions. My mindset is to do my job, clear the paint and make sure nobody is getting easy baskets.”
Back-and-forth action between Beekman and Cook in the 2nd quarter had the gym rejuvenated, desperately encouraging the home team of coming back. However, Scotlandville always had an answer. Walker cut the lead down to 10 or 12 points numerous times in the third quarter but just couldn’t get close enough.
Although the final score was 70-54, the game had its moments. Brian Thomas put together 24 points on the night, showcasing his athleticism on defense and in transition. Carvell Teasett looked impressive by adding 15 points, Tai’Reon Joseph shut down the gym with three fastbreak jams, but the main story was Scotlandville’s ability to turn offense into defense and hit the timely bucket.
As the floor general, Beekman always had the answer to shut up the home crowd – making the right pass, controlling the game’s tempo, or simply taking the ball to the hoop himself. More noticeable than his efficient 8-15 FG shooting, was his level-headedness. The lack of panic, the poise, and the ability to let the game come to him was refreshing to see from a high school point guard. Beekman seems to have a bright future playing for Tony Bennet and the Virginia Cavaliers.
Looking to the more near future, Scotlandville still has four more regular season games until they return to LHSAA’s Marsh Madness as the heavy favorites in the Division 1 bracket.
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