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Lafayette girls clinch 5A playoff berth

By Jared Redding

SALTILLO ­— Dominance and nail biting defined Lafayette’s first Region 2-5A tournament appearance on the hardwood.

The Lady Commodores maintained their hot streak, blowing past West Point 65-44 and advancing to the Region 2-5A title game. With the win, Lafayette has now won 11 straight games and punched their ticket to the postseason.

Lafayette will play Saltillo for the 2-5A tournament championship on Friday at 6 p.m.

While advancing to the playoffs in class 5A may be new territory for Lafayette, it’s just another year for head coach Shane Linzy, dating back to his days at Oxford where he won a 5A state title in 2011. Regardless of classification, playoffs are an expectation for Linzy’s program.

“I told them that they need to believe that they are supposed to be here, that they are supposed to do this every year, no matter what,” Linzy said. “It is all about having that confidence and belief in yourself and your teammates that you are supposed to be here, that you are not the underdog all the time. Sometimes you will be the underdog, but you just want the girls to enjoy the process, just like we did last year. Win or lose, make sure you can say you did everything that you could possibly do.”

Things did not start out the way Lafayette (21-6) wanted them to. West Point came out swinging to start the game, outscoring the Lady ‘Dores 14-11 in the first quarter and finding open lanes to the basket. When Lafayette applied pressure and jumped passing lanes once West Point (0-15) crossed half court, things changed. The Lady Dores took control for good, outscoring West Point 24-6 in the second quarter and continued to roll for the rest of the game.

“I told them to go for it, jump that passing lane, and see if they can’t get an easy one. We were able to slow them down in the second quarter by picking them up closer to half court and make them dribble the ball a little bit more. We were able to come with some pretty easy steals and some easy layups,” Linzy said.’’

Azariah Buford once again had a great game playing West Point, scoring 20 points on the night. Kimaya Dixon finished with nine point and Xhiir Burgess scored eight on the night.

Boys suffer heartbreaker
Free throws made the difference when it was all said and done for the Commodores.

The boys team fell to Grenada 44-42 in a defensive slugfest. For Lafayette, it is do or die as they will play in Thursday’s consolation game against West Point at 7:30 p.m. and fight for a playoff spot.

The Commodores (5-15) played very aggressively on defense throughout the night, but size and ability of Grenada’s Josiah Lewis was causing problems all night for Lafayette.

“(Lewis) is a tough matchup for us. We don’t have anyone that can guard him,” head coach John Sherman said. He has been tough every time we have played him. He took over in the end.”

Lafayette led for the majority of the first half and went into the locker room up 18-16. Grenada started off the third quarter with a 7-0 run and getting some key three pointers to cause momentum to shift.

It was a back-and-forth affair all the way until the final minute of the game. Lafayette had the ball with 1:03 remaining with the score knotted at 42. Lafayette had a costly turnover in that final minute and Lewis made two free throws to win the game.

“We played hard. We had an opportunity at the end, but we just couldn’t capitalize,” Sherman said.

Jonah Matlock and Stephon Isom each had 10 points to lead Lafayette.