Lafayette girls dominate, boys falter in regional tournament

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, February 9, 2022

CLEVELAND, MISS. — Lafayette basketball travelled to Cleveland Tuesday for the MHSAA Class 5A Region 2 tournament.

Lady ‘Dores cruise to victory

The Lady ‘Dores, the No. 1 seed in their bracket, put a beatdown on Greenville, cruising to a 58-19 victory and moving on to the regional championship.

Lafayette jumped out to an early lead thanks to their smothering defense, holding the Honey Bees to just five points in the first quarter. Their full-court press looked better than it has all season, as the Commodores forced turnover after turnover in the backcourt that led to easy looks at the rim in transition.

“As far as the press, they stayed in it. A lot of times we’ll get a trap, they make one pass out of it and then we kind of start backing up. This game right here they did exactly what we asked,” said head coach Shayne Linzy. “They stayed in it until the ball crossed half court, and then even when it crossed half court, we were able to still maintain some pressure, even getting some traps across half court.”

The Lady ‘Dores struggled to convert some of those easy looks however, blowing routine layups at the cup to the chagrin of the coaching staff.

“We’re either gonna play really great defense and not make layups or we’re gonna make layups and not play great defense. We missed a lot of layups in that first half,” Linzy said.

Linzy added that layups have been an issue for his team all season, stressing that his team needs to quit overthinking their shot selection and let the game come to them.

“I think because it’s been a focal point this year offensively for us, that we’re missing so many layups, that they’re overthinking it.”

Lafayette cleaned up the miscues in the second half, which allowed them to empty the bench in the closing minutes with a sizable lead in hand.

Junior guard Mariah Reed-Jones led the way for the Lady ‘Dores recording 13 points and five rebounds. She was a menace on the defensive end of the floor as well, nabbing six steals in the contest.

The Lady ‘Dores move on to face Cleveland Central in the regional championship game on Friday at 7 p.m.

Lafayette boys downed by Lake Cormorant

The Commodore boys fell 42-38 to Lake Cormorant in a back-and-forth, physical contest.

Lafayette struggled to get into an offensive rhythm all night against a larger, more physical Gators squad that relied heavily on six-foot-six, 260-pound center Kamarion Franklin.

The sophomore big man, who already has offers to play football from Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Florida State among others, imposed his will in the paint on both ends, blocking shots and pulling down rebound after rebound.

The Commodores struggled to get clean looks at the rim against Franklin, instead settling for perimeter jump shots on a night where none of their shooters could not find the bottom of the net.

While they struggled to get going on the offensive end, Lafayette was locked in defensively through four quarters, forcing turnovers and holding the Gators to one of their lowest point totals on the season.

After battling back and forth all night, Lafayette took the lead with 2:44 remaining on a strong drive and finish from senior Mario Wilbourn. The bucket would prove to be their last points of the night however, as the ‘Dores faltered in the closing moments with the game on the line.

With less than 30 seconds remaining and trailing by two, senior guard Kylen Vaughn got a wide open look from beyond the arc, but was unable to sink the potential game-winner.

Lake Cormorant scored an easy bucket on the other end with just three seconds remaining, putting the game out of reach and clinching a spot in the regional championship.

Vaughn led the Commodores with a game-high 15 points, nine of which came in the third quarter alone.

Lafayette will have one more chance to keep their season alive when they take on Greenville in the third-place game at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.