LIGHTS OUT- Junior OFA shooting guard LaVell Scott led all scorers with 27 points in a 62-55 overtime upset over defending MAIS AAAA State Champion Hillcrest Christian. Photo by Jesse Brooks.
By Jesse Brooks
Junior shooting guard LaVell Scott led all scorers with 27 points in the season opening victory as the Oak Forest Academy boys basketball team upset MAIS AAAA defending champions Hillcrest Christian 62-55 on the road in Jackson, Mississippi on Monday, November 20. Point guard Janero Porter contributed key buckets as he finished as the Jackets’ second leading scorer with 13 points.
“We felt this win would be huge for the confidence of our guys going forward,” OFA Coach Curtis Matherne said. “This is my third year playing these guys. We haven’t always been on the winning side much. So this one feels good.”
Early on OFA showed they can match pace with an athletic Hillcrest team that likes to run by closing out the first quarter with a 20-9 lead. As the Hillcrest defense begin to settle, they were able to creep back into the fold as a fast break dunk cut OFA’s lead to 22-19 under four minutes remaining in the first half.
After Porter finished a floater in the lane, the two teams traded scores once more and were all tied up 28-28 at the half.
Though Scott’s outside shot was not falling in the first half, he began to get more aggressive after intermission, showing quickness on drives. Power forward Carter Blanchard also chipped in by keeping plays alive with offensive rebounds on missed shots.
Near the end of the third, OFA held a slight lead due to a steal by Porter on the inbounds pass that started a fast break that ended in a basket under the goal by Scott. However, Hillcrest scored on a breakaway steal to tie it up 38-38 just before the final quarter began.
In the fourth, Tucker Miller and Braxton McGovern earned back-to-back buckets inside to set the offensive tone for OFA. Hillcrest soon took a 48-47 lead with the clock running after OFA fouled a shooter and a shot from the field lost their advantage.
Forward Chris Backa then got into the mix by getting on the boards and earning a putback to trail Hillcrest 48-47. After a drive and score by Porter, and a clutch 3-pt. make by Scott, OFA led 52-50 with 1:49 left in regulation. After Hillcrest tied up the game at the line, the two teams went into overtime 52-52.
OFA quickly took charge in the extra period when Porter hit a clutch 3-pointer to go up 55-52. Backa muscled in a basket on an offensive rebound with 1:16 remaining that seemed to put the final nail in the competition.
“We still have things to clean up. It’s game one,” Matherne said. “But it’s a great win and I’m really proud of our guys.”
OFA returns to action on Tuesday, November 28 with another road game against Silliman Institute. They open their home schedule on December 2, hosting East Rankin.