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Lafayette boys clinch berth into 5A playoffs

By Jared Redding

SALTILLO — John Sherman and company held on tight and left Saltillo Thursday knowing that another game awaits them.

The Lafayette Commodores knocked off the West Point Green Wave 46-40 in the Region 2-5A consolation game and completed the season sweep. The win puts Lafayette back in the postseason and they will travel to either Canton or Cleveland Central for the first round next Tuesday.

“It was really one of the motivating points,” Sherman said. “I told them to see what 5A playoffs are all about and do it from our program so we can keep moving forward.”

Things were different this time around as it was Lafayette who came out of the gates rolling, unlike the previous regular season meeting. They opened the first quarter on an 11-2 run and capitalized off Green Wave turnovers. Lafayette led for almost the entire game, but since the hot start to the first quarter, West Point nipped at their heels the rest of the game and kept Lafayette on their toes down the stretch.

“I thought we controlled the game, but we kept giving them chances to get back in the game,” Sherman said. “(West Point) is really athletic. I talked to my team at halftime and told them that if we didn’t keep them off the boards, then it was going to be a dogfight. I don’t think they so much beat us on the boards in the second half, but we made unforced errors with the ball and it kept giving them opportunities. We hung on though.”

West Point’s Semaji Harris – who finished the game with eight points – made some key buckets in the second half to get them back within three points of Lafayette. The Green Wave trailed by two with under a minute left in the game, but free throws by Jonah Matlock and Keilan Buford put the game out of reach.

Matlock and Buford both finished in double figures, getting 11 and 10 points respectively. Stephon Isom nearly finished the game with a double-double by getting 11 points and nine rebounds on the night.