How does a basketball team make a statement against a top-ranked Class 5A opponent at home? Simple. Start the game on a 20-0 run.
That’s what West Monroe’s boys basketball team did when it hosted Zachary during a Saturday evening clash that proved the Rebels belong amongst the elite in 5A.
“Unless it’s 21-0, it can’t be better,” West Monroe head coach Kyle Hill said. “We honestly did not expect us to get off to that type of start. The kids accepted the challenge. They were ready to play from the opening minute.”
In the Rebels’ 77-64 win against the Broncos, West Monroe proved it belongs at the mountaintop, improving to 9-2 on the season. Entering the contest, the Rebels were ranked No. 1 in the unofficial LHSAA power rankings, while Zachary resided at No. 2.
West Monroe's Javion Richard further cemented himself as one of the top players in the area with a 22-point performance. The Dallas Baptist signee orchestrated an offensive attack that featured four double-digit scorers.
“(Richard) just continues to take steps forward in the right direction,” Hill said. “I challenged him (Saturday) to guard one of their best players. He really stepped up with that. For him this year, he’s not sneaking up anybody. Signing early on any level, you take that chance to sneak up on anybody away.”
Joining Richard in the scoring column were Dakota Gasca with 15 points, Justin Lawrence with 14 points and Jadais Richard with 10 points. Lawrence has settled in on the hardwood after the making the late transition from the gridiron.
“He’s gotten off to a good start. He’s helped us with ball handling and has been very good defensively,” Hill said.
The Rebels led 39-25 at halftime, as Zachary made a late push in the half to narrow the gap. West Monroe came out focused in the second half to polish off the biggest win of the season.
Zachary’s Jalen Bolden scored 27 points in the loss.
The contest, which was scheduled 24 hours in advance, was beneficial for both clubs, Hill believes.
“I think big picture you schedule games like that to try and expose some of your weaknesses, so that you can correct them and get better for the playoffs,” Hill said. “They exposed some things on our end, and we exposed some of theirs.”
The Rebels will travel to Ouachita Friday for a pivotal district clash after challenging Ruston Tuesday.