Think all-star games are meaningless? Don’t tell that to Zachary High standout

Think all-star games are meaningless? Don't tell that to Zachary High standout

Images of players from last week’s LHSAA boys tournament are etched among the recent high school basketball memories. Brandon Hardy was not in that number.

That fact makes the LHSBCA All-Star boys game set for 3 p.m. Saturday at Pineville’s Louisiana Christian University even more important for the Zachary High star. Games begin at 1 p.m. with the LHSBCA All-Star girls game.

“I did not want the Liberty game to be my last high school game,” Hardy said. “Getting the chance to play in this game means so much … I am thankful for it. We report today (Friday) for practice. I’m ready.”

After serving as a the primary ball-handler and facilitator for Zachary teams that won two Class 5A titles in his first three seasons, Hardy took on a new role as a senior.

The 6-foot-3 UL signee became a top scorer and rebounder on a younger Bronco team that evolved into a team ranked in the Division I nonselect top four in power ratings. The chance for a third straight LHSAA title was in play until the last week of the regular season.

A large-scale fight that included spectators late in a District 4-5A game at Liberty ended the season for both Zachary and Liberty. The LHSAA opted to disqualify the two Division I powers for the playoffs as part of its penalties stemming from the altercation.

“I am so happy to see Brandon get one more game,” Zachary coach Jon McClinton said. “I believe getting this chance probably means more to him than it would to a lot of other guys.”

McClinton concedes that few players have made the impact Hardy has over a four-year span for the Broncos. Hardy averaged a career-high 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game as Zachary compiled a 21-7 record in 2022-23.

In addition to being a facilitator for most of his career, Hardy was a pied piper, something McClinton explains.

“He’s been with me almost five years and I tell him he’s one of the architects of the program,” McClinton said. “He’s a big personality and you always know when he is in the locker room.

“But there’s more to it. You’re talking about a guy who was never late to practice, never missed a practice and a guy who is a team player. He drove a Tahoe and it was not unusual to see that Tahoe full of teammates. He would drive around Zachary to pick them up for practice.”

Taking the ball out of Hardy’s hands this season was a calculated risk that paid off as younger players grew into their roles this season.

Hardy grew too, both on and off the court. In addition to becoming more of a scorer, he became a voice of maturity.

“Brandon had to give us different things on different nights,” McClinton said. “One night he needed to be a scorer and the next night he needed to rebound or give us more assists.

“He grew as a leader … being the guy who encouraged younger players and gave them advice. When I had to tell them (players) our season was over, he consoled them.”

Predictably, once the Broncos’ season ended, Hardy kept his routine going.

“I’ve lifted weights and been in the gym every day,” Hardy added. “You can’t stop working.”


About Mary Weyand 20629 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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