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Lafayette girls dominant, boys struggle in home openers

Lafayette girls dominant Thursday, tested but undefeated to open year

The Lady Commodores have faced some tough tasks to open the year. Thursday night in their home opener against Houston was not one.

Lafayette jumped out to an early lead, running away with a 71-24 win over 3A Houston to open their 2019-20 home slate on Thursday evening. The win puts them to 3-0 on the young season.

Defense told the tale for the Lady Commodores in this one. By the time the opening 16 minutes of play had been completed, Lafayette had allowed just eight points in the first half. They came out pressing – something they want to do this year – then fell into half court defense in the second half as the game got away.

That pressing is something they opened the year doing for the entire 32 minutes of game time for their first two games, something head coach Shayne Linzy has never done in twenty years as a coach. In doing so, they went on the road to two 6A schools and pulled off wins at Hernando (59-54 in OT) and at South Panola (56-52).

“They were tired after those games. But we felt like we were able to wear down those two other teams,” Linzy said. “Tonight with Houston we concentrated a little more on our half-court defense. But overall I couldn’t be prouder of our defense through the start.”

Hernando and South Panola are tall and athletic teams, something Lafayette simply is not.

The tallest, healthy girl for the Lady Commodores is 5-foot-9 Kimaya Dixon. It’s something the team is intentionally trying to challenge themselves to do early in the season – play bigger teams – just to get themselves used to it when it matters most.

“With our size issues, we needed to play teams like that to prepare for hopefully playoffs,” Linzy said. “It was great to come out of those with victories and we get to play them again. It was a great battle and we expect another one next time.”

Commodore boys turnover happy, struggle with early deficit against Houston

Where the Lafayette girls are off to a hot start, the boys team has had its issues early. However, there are some positive signs.

Lafayette lost 54-71 Thursday night to Houston in their home opener, falling to 0-3 to start their season.

Yet, it’s 0-3 against three good teams, and the Commodores have been competitive in all three. A Lafayette team that won just five games in Brad Gray’s inaugural season a year ago played with two 6A schools and the Houston team on Thursday that won 22 games a season ago.

“Our effort has definitely been good. The kids are playing hard and they have a lot of fight in them. But we’ve been digging ourselves in holes early in every game,” Gray said. “We look up and next thing you know we’re down seven, ten, twelve points and we have to fight like hell to dig out of that. Right now, with the personnel we have, we’re not built to be able to do that.”

Thursday against Houston, the game was tied at eight early before Houston put together a 16-0 run.

The Lafayette team lost the game by just 17 total points after giving up that 16 point run early. They’re showing signs, they just need to find the consistency to put it all together. At some point, that will come with just experience for a young team – their starting point guard is an eighth grader.

“We’re making a lot of mistakes but we’re playing a lot of new guys, playing a lot of young guys,” Gray said. “So we still have a lot of guys trying to get adjusted. A couple turnovers and they go down and turn it into points. So a lot of mistakes and sloppy play but then we settled in and played a little better late. But the effort they’re giving consistently, it’s good. As long as we can keep that mindset, that attitude, I think the rest will come.”