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Turnovers doom Lafayette boys in first round loss of 5A playoffs

By Jared Redding

CLEVELAND — Too fast, too long, too athletic. That is how Lafayette head coach John Sherman described his opponent at the end of the night.

The 2017-2018 campaign came to a close for the Commodores as they fell to the Cleveland Central Wolves 66-39 in the opening round of the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs at Margaret Wade Gymnasium Tuesday. With the loss, the Commodores finish the season 6-16 in their first season playing in class 5A.

The Wolves hit Lafayette in the mouth early with their athleticism and forced a lot of turnovers early on. They started the game on a 9-0 run and set the tone for most of the night.

“(Cleveland Central) has a lot of weapons and a lot of bullets,” Sherman said. “We were a little outmanned, but we did a lot of things that hurt ourselves. I’m sure their intimidation factor caused it. We didn’t play sound, we didn’t take care of the basketball early even in the open court and when we had driving lanes. We had open looks to the basket, but we were very careless with the basketball. They caused us not to play good. We did a lot of things that we should have done better, but a lot of of that was just them being long, quick, and athletic. All in all, it was a tall task to come in here, not pun intended.”

A lot of damage was caused by Cleveland Central’s Kamarian Willams in the paint and Peyton Taylor from three point range. Williams scored 15 and Taylor scored 13 on the night.

The Wolves, like most of the teams that Lafayette played recently, challenged them at both ends of the floor with press defense. It worked early, but Lafayette found a way to exploit it once the second quarter came around.

The Commodores kept with the Wolves pretty well near the end of the second quarter to almost cut the lead to single digits. In the second half, the turnover problems resumed and the lead was getting stretched as the game went on.

In his final game as a Commodore, Jonah Matlock put up 11 points. Lafayette had two eighth graders rise up to the occasion as Kylen Vaughn and Tikyus Woodall finished second and third on the team respectively with six and five points.

“There is a lot of future in that young class. I think in a couple years, this is going to be a pretty tough program,” Sherman said.

The Wolves will travel to Jackson to take on Callaway this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in the second round.