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Lafayette girls give up late lead, fall to Belmont in OT

PONTOTOC — There is one thing Lafayette is having trouble doing this season, learning how to close games out.

Saturday morning was another example as Belmont defeated the Commodores 62-56 in the Tangle on the Trail tournament at Pontotoc High School.

After trailing all game Lafayette (10-6) used a late run over the third and fourth quarters to grab a 48-45 lead. With a minute remaining, clock management became an issue. The Commodores kept rushing down the court instead of draining the clock and forcing Belmont (15-2) to foul.

Instead, Lafayette kept throwing up shots and Belmont finally made them pay when Claire Maroon hit a contested three-point shot in the final seconds of regulation, tying the game at 48-all.

“This has been our story all year,” Lafayette coach Shayne Linzy said. “Pressure should not get to us by now, but it’s still affecting what we do. …finishing games, we’ve got to learn how to do that.”

Belmont went on to outscore Lafayette 14-11 in the overtime period to secure the win.

Kimaya Dixon scored 20 points to lead Lafayette, Mariah Holland scored 18 and had a team-high nine rebounds. Azariah Buford added eight points and five rebounds.

The first half was a sluggish performance for Lafayette. The Commodores committed 22 turnovers with a bulk of them coming in the first half off traveling calls or just allowing Belmont to grab the ball out of their hands without contesting.

“That’s us,” Linzy said of the lackadaisical effort. “I don’t know why. We tend to be a little lackadaisical on a Saturday morning. I tried to tell the girls the team on the other side will not be lackadaisical. They had a lot longer drive than we did and they’re coming to play.”

Macie Walker led Belmont with 26 points, Karmen Payne scored 13 while Maroon finished with 11.

Lafayette travels to Grenada on Tuesday to begin Region 2-5A play.