Micah McElhaney recently became South Beauregard's all-time leading scorer — and he's not finished. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, January 30, 2014 11:09 AMLONGVILLE — For seven years South Beauregard head basketball coach Adam Coleman has known he has something special, a talent so unique that no school records are safe in 2014.
When opposing teams take the court they know that there is one thing they must do if they have any hopes of defeating the Golden Knights: stop Micah McElhaney.
For the past four years, however, that has sounded far easier than done.
This season the senior leads Southwest Louisiana with 28 points per game, scoring more than 40 points on four occasions en route to eclipsing the school’s all-time scoring mark.
Before the season began, Coleman and his staff knew that it was only a matter of time before McElhaney became the school’s all-time leading scorer. The guard entered the season trailing South Beauregard’s last all-state performer Tony Allen by 450 points. Allen set the school record (1,773) in 2009.
Coleman said he was so sure that his star playmaker would break the record that he hadn’t even realized that the mark had been broken until several games after the feat was accomplished. McElhaney topped the mark on Jan. 10 in a home victory against the DeRidder Dragons.
“It wasn’t quite as exciting of a moment as you might expect,” Coleman said. “It wasn’t until a couple games later that we went back and added up all of the point totals that we realized that he had actually broken the scoring record against DeRidder High School.
“When we figured out that he had broken it, we announced it in front of the team, and that is where he found out.”
There was no elaborate celebration for McElhaney, who displayed a simple smile before thanking his teammates for helping him reach the milestone.
“It didn’t really faze me,” McElhaney said. “I knew scoring was only going to make my team better, but I didn’t think I would break that record so I didn’t really focus on it as much as I do on winning.”
“He handled it in typical Micah fashion. He gave a smile, shrugged and said, ‘That’s pretty cool, Coach.’ He took the time during that meeting to thank his teammates,” Coleman said. “He has the understanding that he wouldn’t have been able to do that without his teammates.”
In seven years of coaching McElhaney, that type of humility is what Coleman has come to expect from the senior.
“Here at South Beauregard I am pretty fortunate to be able to coach the middle school, as well as the high school, so I’ve gotten to work with Micah since his sixth-grade year,” Coleman said. “One of the benefits of that is that you really get to know a kid and learn how to bring out the best in them.
“As good of a basketball player that he is, he is an even better young man. He is the most polite, well-mannered young men that I have ever coached. He is very fun-loving and enjoyable to be around. It has been a real joy to get to know him as a person.”
Coleman attributes McElhaney’s success to his tenacity, a trait that complements his natural ability and sharpshooting.
“When people think of skills they think of shooting and handling the basketball,” Coleman said. “Micah has a very high skill level in those things, but I feel the ability to go out there and play harder than anybody else on the entire floor is what he does better than anyone in this area. He will go out and play harder and more intense than anyone else on the floor every night and, because of that, he may score 40 points without you even realizing it. He is always the quickest guy to a loose ball and can easily get 10 to 12 points from offensive rebounds.”
With that type of work rate, the Golden Knights have had to deal with a variety of stingy defensive schemes from their opponents who often deploy their best defender to attempt to slow McElhaney’s production down as much as possible.
“Going into this year we were already starting to prepare because we knew what was coming,” Coleman said. “We have seen more box-and-one defenses this year than I have in my previous eight years of coaching here combined. Night in and night out we have the opposing team’s best defender on him regardless of the defensive scheme.
“For a while Micah was averaging over 30 points per game against the opposing team’s best defender in a gimmick defense. Even when his teammates get open shots because Micah is being denied the ball, he is the first one there trying to grab the offensive rebound.”
“I’m definitely looking to score, but if I see one of my teammates open, I am going to get them the ball,” McElhaney added.
The box-and-one is a scheme in which a team deploys a zone defense with four of its players while one plays man-to-man on a particular offensive player.
Coleman said he believes that if McElhaney continues his scoring trend he will top 2,000 points by the end of the season.