For the first time in four years, the LaFayette High’s Lady Bulldogs are headed to the playoffs. The girls earned a berth in the Northeast subregional round after defeating Horseshoe Bend in the Area 9 tournament in a thrilling 27-25 game on Thursday in Lanett.
“We played extremely hard on both sides of the ball we played our most complete game on defense and really limited them on run outs and second opportunities which was the game plan going in,” LHS coach Michael Bratcher said.
Horseshoe Bend has long been a thorn in LaFayette’s side. The Generals defeated LHS twice during the regular season, including once in overtime. They’ve also ended the Lady Dogs’ season the past two years. “The game played out just like it has the previous seasons where we where leading the game and they took the lead late on us,” Bratcher says. “But unlike the other years, we played great defense to the end and did not go in to any lapses”
LaFayette took an early advantage in the game, leading by six at the half. But the Generals rallied in the third, outscoring LHS 9-2 to take a one point lead into the fourth. The Lady Dogs, however, would not be denied. With the game tied at 25 and less than a minute to play, Raven Floyd hit two big free throws that proved to be the difference.
Keiya Baker led LaFayette with 11 points, while Bianca Walker scored six.
The win propelled the girls to the area title game against host Lanett. They didn’t fare as well, falling to the No. 9 Panthers, 92-20.
The game got away from LaFayette right from the start as Lanett opened on a 26-2 run. After taking a 40-point halftime lead, the Panthers mysteriously left their starters in for the duration of the game in an effort to run up the score and pad their stats.
Blunt led the Bulldogs with seven points.
With the runner-up finish, the girls have to hit the road in the subregionals, and their challenge couldn’t be any more difficult. They will face Area 10 champion and defending state champion Woodland High School. Despite some losses from last years’ team, Woodland hasn’t lost a step, compiling a 29-1 record and the number one ranking in Class 2A.
The game will take place on Thursday in Woodland at 7 pm CST. The winner will advance to the Northeast Region Tournament at Jacksonville State starting Feb. 19.
“Even though the road ahead is extremely tough I am hoping that this will be a building block to success in the future as we return nine players next year and have a very energetic and athletic group of eighth graders coming,” Bratcher added.