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Lafayette girls roll in split with 1-5A foe Center Hill

The blowout wins are not happening in bulk for Lafayette’s girls basketball team this season and that is okay.

With the tough schedule that head coach Shayne Linzy set up this season, the Lady Commodores are having to fight well into the second half to earn victories. The game may not have had the same feel, but their 58-43 win over Center Hill on Friday included Lafayette having to survive an offensive spurt in the fourth quarter.

“I think the non-region schedule that we had has prepared us for this,” Linzy said. “We’re not blowing teams out this year. We’re learning how to win at the end almost every night. Tonight was a prime example of that. We get the big lead, I let some of those young girls play and Center Hill does a great job, starts hitting some shots. I put the starters back out there and they regain control of the game.”

After three quarters of play, the Lady Commodores (13-2, 2-0 1-5A), held a comfortable 27-point lead over the Lady Mustangs. The final eight minutes saw an 18-4 run by Center Hill, led by Hope Mealer’s three three-pointers. Mealer finished with 24 points and six of the Lady Mustangs’ seven three-pointers.

Seniors Kimaya Dixon and Azariah Buford once again led the Lady Commodores, offensively. Dixon scored a team-high 19 points with Buford adding 12. Sophomore Deundria Shaw also scored 12 points, providing a lift with starter Karizma Norphlet out sick with the flu.

“(Shaw’s) offense is starting to catch up with her defense and she’s going to be a special player,” Linzy said.

Center Hill boys cruise

The defending Class 5A state champions from a year ago showed why they secured that trophy and why they are favorites to hoist it up inside the Pavilion this March with their 73-26 win over the Lafayette boys.

A fast start produced a 27-7 Center Hill lead after the first quarter and the Mustangs did not let up, using their speed and athleticism to stretch the lead to 38 by halftime.

If Lafayette head coach Brad Gray had to describe his second season with the Commodores it would have to be “inconsistent.” The Commodores (2-13, 0-2) came away with a 2-point win at Horn Lake on Dec. 17 and then lost at MAIS powerhouse Madison Ridgeland Academy three days later in game where Gray said they had chances to leave with the upset.

“We’re really inconsistent right now,” Gray said. “At times throughout the year we’ve shown signs of playing pretty well, playing some good basketball. …It’s almost like once we start to kind of show some signs of improvement and get a little bit better we take three steps backwards. The consistency is not there. I’m racking my brain to try and figure out if it’s me, if it’s something we need to do differently, something I need to do differently. I’m trying to figure out a way to get through to these guys.”

Center Hill’s Decorian Payton and Deshun Dunn led all scorers with 16 points each. Mario Waldrop led Lafayette with six points while Khy Pegues and Kylen Vaughn each scored five points.