FLOOR GENERAL- Senior point guard Janero Porter directed traffic in a 73-55 win over Columbia on Saturday, January 6. He was the Jackets’ second leading scorer with 15 points. Photo by Matthew Roy.
By Jesse Brooks
AMITE- After returning from the winter break, the Oak Forest Academy boys basketball team (11-3 overall) bounced back from back-to-back losses with a win over Columbia Academy on Saturday, January 6 at home 73-55 in the final contest of a three-game home stretch. Junior La’Vell Scott turned in one of his best performances this season, erupting for 27 points total.
BUCKETS- Junior guard La’Vell Scott scored 27 points in the win over Columbia. Photo by Matthew Roy.
“It feels good getting back into a rhythm and playing like we were before the break,” said OFA Coach Curtis Matherne. “It unfortunately took two games to get some things corrected, but I was proud of how the guys didn’t make any excuses and just kept working.”
Prior to last Saturday, OFA lost to Adams County Christian 60-58 in a lack luster defensive effort. The next night, despite hanging with Madison-Ridgeland by trailing 22-26 at halftime, the Jackets failed to cut into the lead significantly in the second half, falling 67-49 to their conference opponent.
Two things that contributed to the Jackets’ positive display against Columbia were a balanced approach, and new elements being introduced into a system that helped produce a 9-1 start to their season. Aside from the high volume scoring of Scott, senior point guard Janero Porter managed the game through heavy distribution and recognizing each of the five defensive packages Columbia showed against OFA. Porter also was the second leading scorer with 15 points.
“The ball movement in the second half was huge,” Matherne said. “We were getting the ball into players’ sweet spots and you could see our confidence rise as the game went along.”
Looking for a spark, Matherne employed Freshman guard Jaden Collura from the bench in the second half. Collura delivered a breakout performance by shooting 4-of-5 from 3-point range while contributing three rebounds and three assists.
The Jackets also improved defensively by using a zone they have not showed often this season. The scheme allowed the Jackets fly around and stop lanes open to the basket.
Despite a strong overall record, at 1-2 the Jackets have some ground to gain in conference as opponents Jackson Prep and MRA lead with a slight 1-0 advantage. The Jackets will look to build momentum heading into the week.
OFA will travel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi on Tuesday, January 9 to face conference opponent Presbyterian Christian, and they will host Parklane Academy on Friday, January 12 at 7 p.m.