LaFayette High’s boys survived a late charge by Ranburne High in the subregional round of the AHSAA Class 2A playoffs on Saturday evening to advance to the Northeast Regionals for the second consecutive season. The Bulldogs will face No. 5 Westbrook Christian in the regionals today at Jacksonville State University at 4:30 pm CST.
As the Area 9 runner-up, the Bulldogs (16-8) had to hit the road for the first round of the playoffs to face Area 10 champion Ranburne. They even had to wait an extra day, after the game was moved from Friday due to weather. Those factors didn’t faze LaFayette, as they controlled the contest and held on late for a 67-61 win.
“I thought the kids played really hard all night,” LHS coach Obadiah Threadgill said. “We had some trouble getting on the shooter late in the game, but I thought for most of the night we defended really well.”
After leading from the opening tip, the Bulldogs had their hands full in the fourth quarter. Ranburne erupted over the final eight minutes, scoring 30 points, including connecting on six three-pointers. But they never got closer than six points.
LaFayette seemed comfortable and confident in the first half, leading by 10 at the break. They continued to cruise in the third, thanks in large part to the play of Trevond Barnes who scored 17 of his game-high 22 points in the second half. Barnes also connected on seven-of-eight free throws in the fourth quarter to help seal the win. But he was the only bright spot in an abysmal free throw shooting night for the Dogs. As a team, they connected on just 18-of-37 free throws, and their inefficiency in the fourth allowed Ranburne to close in late. It’s something Threadgill knows they have to correct if they expect to advance further in the playoffs.
Along with Barnes, Kaminski Bledsoe and Cordeski Floyd were solid with eight points each.
As they move on to the next round, the Bulldogs will match up with No. 5 Westbrook Christian (23-4) today in Jacksonville.
“They are a similar type team to Ranburne, but they are very fundamentally sound,” Threadgill said about Westbrook Christian. “They run a lot of motion are good at adjusting to where the defense is. Athletically I think we match up really well with them, but we are going to have to play sound basketball and communicate well.”
*For full story see this week’s edition of The Sun.