LaFayette advances to Central Region Finals with win over Central-Hayneville

LaFayette celebrates after the final buzzer sounds in their 61-54 win over Central-Hayneville Thursday.

LaFayette celebrates after the final buzzer sounds in their 61-54 win over Central-Hayneville Thursday.

MONTGOMERY – No. 9 LaFayette fought off a second half charge from Central-Hayneville to pick up a 61-54 win in the AHSAA Class 2A Central Regional semifinals Thursday afternoon at the Alabama State University Acadome in Montgomery.

The Bulldogs (22-5) will face No. 8 Francis Marion (21-6) in the Central Regional finals next Wednesday for the right to advance to the Class 2A Final Four.

LaFayette appeared to be the better team right from the start. They scored the first points of the game and would lead the entire first half. Led by the play of Maurice Foster, who had 11 first half points, the Dogs jumped out to a 16-9 first quarter lead. They would lead by as much as 11 early in the second quarter, before Hayneville went on a 9-2 run to end the half. It cut the LHS lead to two points at the break.

The Bulldogs were abysmal in the third and with 5:28 to play in the quarter, Hayneville took their first lead of the night, 35-33.

LaFayette wouldn’t score again until 40 seconds remained in the third, but they did enough on defense to trail by just one going to the fourth.

Kaminski Bledsoe and Maurice Foster (3) go for a rebound against Central-Hayneville.

Kaminski Bledsoe and Maurice Foster (3) go for a rebound against Central-Hayneville.

The Bulldogs finally woke up in the fourth quarter and regained the lead with 7:06 to play. They would never trail again. The key over the final seven minutes for LHS was their free throw shooting. The Bulldogs hit 17-of-23 free throws in the fourth; leading the way was Trevond Barnes, who hit 8-of-9 foul shots in the quarter.

“This is a really big win for our kids,” LHS coach Obadiah Threadgill said. “We’re hungry to make it to Birmingham. These guys have put in a lot of hard work to get this far.”

Foster played perhaps his best game of the season, finishing with 15 points. Barnes had 18 and Jatarvious Whitlow, who missed most of the second half due to foul trouble, had eight. Quentin Ray and Kaminski Bledsoe both scored seven for LHS. Barnes grabbed eight rebounds and two blocks and Ray had a team-high 11 rebounds.

LaFayette and Francis Marion will tip at 11 am CST next Wednesday in Montgomery at the Acadome. The winner will advance to the state semifinals in Birmingham on February 23.

*Full story will appear in next week’s print edition of The Sun.

February 12, 2015 | Posted in: Prep, Sports | Comments Closed

Chambers tops Lakeside in Final Four; will play for second straight state title Friday

CA Coach Jason Allen talks to his team during a timeout in Wednesday's Final Four game.

CA Coach Jason Allen talks to his team during a timeout in Wednesday’s Final Four game.

MONTGOMERY – Chambers Academy defeated Lakeside in a thrilling double overtime game in the AISA Class 1A Final Four yesterday and for the second straight season will play for a state championship.

The Rebels will go for back-to-back titles when they face Crenshaw on Friday at 2 pm at the Crampton Multiplex in Montgomery.

The path to the title game wasn’t an easy one.

Chambers overcame an almost insurmountable deficit to earn a 47-45 win.

It looked bleak for CA early as the Chiefs couldn’t miss. Thanks to six first half three pointers, Lakeside charged out to an 18-0 lead. It was so bad that the Rebels didn’t attempt a shot until two and a half minutes into the contest.

CA would respond with an 11-2 run to cut their deficit to nine points in the second quarter. Jay Tinsley hit a three pointer at the halftime buzzer to pull Chambers to within seven.

Three minutes into the third, Chambers cut their deficit to one point, the closest they had been all game, but Lakeside held off a charge and went to the fourth with a 31-28 lead.

With 6:30 to play, CA’s Tae Henry tied the game at 33 and two minutes later, Jamie Brown gave the Rebels their first lead of the night.

Lakeside would regain the lead with another three-pointer, but Jake Burton sank a free throw with three minutes to play to tie the game at 36. It would stay that way until the end of regulation as both teams missed opportunities in the closing seconds.

Both teams were sloppy in the first overtime and with eight seconds left the game was tied at 38. Lakeside had the ball, but their winning shot attempt got stuck between the rim and backboard, forcing a jump ball. Chambers got possession with five seconds to play.

But it quickly went bad, as the Rebels were called for backcourt on the inbounds pass and the game would head to a second overtime.

The double overtime was intense from start to finish. Chambers would get the first score, but the lead would change hands four times before it was settled. Lakeside took a 45-44 lead with 20 seconds to play, setting up one last series for the Rebels. Coach Jason Allen wanted his team to have the final shot and it was the right call.

With three seconds to play, Henry got the ball on the post and put in a lay-up, while drawing a foul. He hit the free throw to put Chambers up 47-45. Lakeside’s halfcourt desperation shot fell short propelling the Rebels to the finals.

Henry was outstanding in the win. He finished with 18, scoring seven in the overtime frame. He also pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds and played most of the second half with four fouls.

Tinsley scored 15 and Brown finished with 13.

Chambers and Crenshaw have faced each other once this season. The Rebels won the January 31st game, 54-51.

LaFayette boys advance to Central Regionals

Quentin Ray drives past an R.C. Hatch defender in Tuesday's sub-regional playoff game.

Quentin Ray drives past an R.C. Hatch defender in Tuesday’s sub-regional playoff game.

The No. 9 ranked LaFayette boys (21-5) wrapped up an impressive regular season on Friday night with a thrilling overtime win against rival Lanett in the Area 8 Tournament championship game. It was the first area title for the Dogs since 2009 and the first under fourth year head coach Obadiah Threadgill.

“It’s a huge win for our program,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of success over the past four years, we’ve even been to a state final but we haven’t won the area. So to be able to win the area in their (Lanett) gym says a lot about the character of our kids.”

The area win allowed LaFayette to host the sub-regional round of the playoffs on Tuesday. And with the home crowd behind them, the Bulldogs defeated R.C. Hatch to advance to the Central Regional Tournament, which starts Thursday.

To advance to the area title game against Lanett, the Bulldogs topped Reeltown last Tuesday 80-58.

The game against the Panthers presented a little more difficulty.

The excitement was overwhelming in the sold out Lanett gym and the two teams didn’t disappoint.

Lanett scored the first points of the game, but LaFayette would quickly answer. The teams would exchange the lead six times in the first before the Panthers pulled ahead 16-13 going to the second.

Twenty seconds into the second quarter, LaFayette’s Quentin Ray tied the game with a three-pointer and then with 5:27 the Bulldogs regained a lead. They wouldn’t trail again until overtime.

The Dogs pulled ahead by as much as seven points in the quarter, and would lead by four at the half.

Lanett came out in the third and quickly tied the game at 28. The momentum seemed to be shifting, but it was halted thanks to a monster dunk by Barnes to regain the LHS lead.

But moments later, a terrifying moment halted the game. Going up for another dunk, Barnes was fouled hard by two Lanett players. His head hit the floor hard and he appeared to be knocked out. After a 20-plus minute delay, Barnes was loaded on a stretcher and taken out of the gym. But not before he gave a few brief words of encouragement to his teammates and a thumbs-up to the LHS fans.

Once play resumed, the Bulldogs showed renewed enthusiasm and by the time the third ended, had built a nine-point lead.

Jatarvious Whitlow led LaFayette with 17 points in their win over R.C. Hatch Tuesday.

Jatarvious Whitlow led LaFayette with 17 points in their win over R.C. Hatch Tuesday.

But Lanett was not done, and they took advantage of Barnes’ absence by attacking under the basket. They cut the deficit to three just over a minute into the fourth and with 5:30 to play, trailed 43-42.

Jatarvious Whitlow responded with five straight points to put LaFayette back up by six, but the Panthers continued to work in the lane and pulled to within two points with 1:25 to play.

With 36.4 seconds to play Lanett tied the game at 52 after two free throws. The Bulldogs had one last chance, but couldn’t get off a good shot and the game went to overtime.

The Panthers took their first lead since the second quarter four seconds into overtime, but LaFayette answered with a 7-0 run over the next three minutes and with 30 seconds to play had a 59-54 lead.

Whitlow hit two free throws to ice the game with 4 seconds to play, and even though they sank a last-second three pointer, the Panthers feel to the Bulldogs 62-59.

Whitlow was outstanding, finishing with a game-high 26 points. Ray scored 12 and Quentavious Whitlow had 10.

On Tuesday, the Bulldogs hosted Area 7 runner-up R.C. Hatch in the Dog Palace and used a strong fourth quarter and some clutch free throw shooting to earn a 65-55 win.

LaFayette started out slow and trailed by two after the first quarter, but they regained the lead with a 13-2 run in the second. However, Hatch would respond and tie the game at 28 by halftime.

The Dogs trailed for most of the third quarter, but Ray, who had maybe his best game of the season, scored two straight baskets and LHS trailed by just one heading to the fourth.

Ray put the Bulldogs on top just 15 seconds into the fourth and LaFayette would never trail again. They hit 10-of-13 free throws over the final eight minutes to secure the win.

Four Bulldogs reached double digits in the game, led by J. Whitlow’s 17. Ray finished with 14 and Barnes and Kaminski Bledsoe each scored 12.

LaFayette advances to the Central Regional on Thursday. They will face Central-Hayneville at noon at Alabama State University’s Acadome in Montgomery. The Central Regional finals will take place on February 18 at 11 am at the Acadome.

February 11, 2015 | Posted in: Prep, Sports | Comments Closed

LaFayette girls’ season ends in sub-regional round of playoffs

For the second consecutive season, the LaFayette Lady Bulldogs reached the playoffs. However, like last season, their playoff run ended in the sub-regional round.

LHS earned the runner-up spot in the Area 8 Tournament last week and had to hit the road for the sub-regional round on Monday.

The Lady Bulldogs had to travel to Area 7 champion Holy Spirit Catholic (22-2) in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday. The home team maintained an advantage throughout and would eliminate LaFayette by a score of 70-30.

The Titan’s full-court press caused multiple turnovers and kept the Bulldog offense in check. Trinity would leap out to a 23-0 lead in the game, building their advantage to 40-15 by halftime.

D’Essence Boyd led LaFayette with eight points and Raven Floyd added seven. Jaliscia Bledsoe finished with four points and Shantavia Foster, B’yonnah Toles, Tamara Lyons, Daijahnna Walton, Rahiesha Harris and Jasmine Pitts each scored in the loss.

LaFayette finished the season with a 4-18 record, and despite the unflattering stats, showed big improvement throughout the year. They are a very young team that got wins when they needed them. They will only lose one senior, Floyd, to graduation and the experience many of these freshman and sophomores got will be invaluable going forward.

*For full story see this week’s print edition of The Sun.

Chambers Academy boys headed back to Final Four

The Chambers Academy boys are headed back to the AISA Class 1A Final Four and will have a chance to defend their 2014 state championship.

The Rebels defeated Sumter on Tuesday afternoon at Huntingdon College in Montgomery in the AISA Elite Eight to advance.

The game was tight through the first three quarters, with Chambers leading by three heading to the fourth. But the Rebels dominated the final eight minutes, outscoring Sumter 20-3 to earn a 56-36 win.

Jay Tinsley led Chambers with 27 points, while Tae Henry scored 17 and had eight rebounds, three steals and three blocks.

The Rebels (19-7) have a long wait before they get back on the court. The Final Four begins next Wednesday, February 11 at the Crampton Multiplex in Montgomery. It may be a long wait, but CA will face a familiar opponent. The Rebels will take on Lakeside for the fifth time this season in the semi-finals with a trip to the title game on the line. Lakeside defeated Lowndes in the Elite Eight round on Tuesday to advance.

The Rebels and Chiefs will tip at 1:30 next Wednesday. The Class 1A state championship game will take place on Feb 13 at 2 pm at the Multiplex.

*For full story see next week’s print edition of The Sun.

February 4, 2015 | Posted in: Prep, Sports | Comments Closed

LaFayette boys heading to playoffs; will face Lanett Friday for area title

The No. 9 LaFayette boys secured a spot in the AHSAA Class 2A playoffs when they defeated Reeltown in the first round of the Area 8 Tournament Tuesday afternoon.

It wasn’t much of a contest, as the hot shooting Bulldogs dominated Reeltown right from the start. LaFayette racked up 43 points in the first half alone to lead by 25 at the break. They would go on to win 80-58.

Trevond Barnes paced the Dogs with 25 points, while Jatarvious Whitlow chipped in 18. Kaminski Bledsoe and Jamarquez Boston Gaines each scored eight for LHS.

The Bulldogs (19-5) will face Lanett on Friday to determine the Area 8 champion. The Panthers defeated Horseshoe Bend to advance to the area title game. The winner will earn the right to host the sub-regional round of the playoffs next week, while the runner-up will hit the road. The Bulldogs and Panthers tip off at 6:30 pm CST.

For the Central sub-regional round, Area 8 is matched up with Area 7. The Area 8 winner will host the Area 7 runner-up and the Area 8 runner-up will travel to the Area 7 winner. Area 7 consists of No. 8 Francis Marion, Pickens County, Holy Spirit and R.C. Hatch. Francis Marion won the Area 7 regular season and R.C. Hatch was the runner up.

The sub-regional games will take place on February 10 at 7 pm CST.

LaFayette girls top Horseshoe Bend to earn playoff berth

For the second consecutive season, the LaFayette Lady Bulldogs are headed to the playoffs. The girls played their best game of the year at the most important time, as they defeated Horseshoe Bend in the first round of the Area 8 Tournament Tuesday afternoon to secure a spot in the Class 2A sub-regional round.

The No. 3 seeded Lady Bulldogs topped No. 2 Horseshoe Bend 48-29. It was the first time this season LHS has defeated the Generals.

LaFayette led throughout, but really put the game away with a 20-point fourth quarter.

D’Essence Boyd led LHS with 16 points, including seven in the fourth. Jasmine Pitts scored eight in the fourth quarter and finished with 13 points.

LaFayette (5-17) will face No. 1 seed Lanett for the area title on Friday at 5 pm CST.

The area winner hosts the sub-regional game, while the area runner-up must play on the road. Area 8 is matched up with Area 7 in this year’s Central sub-regional. Area 7 consists of R.C. Hatch, Pickens County, Francis Marion and Holy Spirit. R.C. Hatch was the regular season Area 7 winner.

The Central sub-regional games will take place on Monday, February 9 at 7 pm.

Chambers girls season ends in Elite Eight

The Chambers Academy girls’ season came to an end on Tuesday when they lost to Lowndes in the AISA Class 1A Elite Eight.

The Lady Rebels came in as the Region 1 No. 4 seed, while Lowndes was the Region 2 No. 1 seed.

Chambers stayed close early, but Lowndes dominated the final three quarters to pick up a 45-15 win.

Jessica Harmon led Chambers with nine points and seven rebounds. Tori Harmon, Tate Reese and Kristina Stewart also scored in the loss.

Chambers finished the season as the Region 1 East regular season champions and had an 8-16 record.

*For full story see next week’s print edition of The Sun.

Bulldogs get big win over rival Lanett

Kaminski Bledsoe puts up a shot in LaFayette's win over Lanett on Friday.

Kaminski Bledsoe puts up a shot in LaFayette’s win over Lanett on Friday.

It may have been the most important week to this point in the season for the LaFayette boys. The Bulldogs were riding a five-game winning streak heading into the games last week, and were playing their best ball of the season. But they were still stinging from two Area 8 losses earlier in the season, and there was much to be proved when LaFayette got the opportunity to avenge those losses last week.

The Bulldogs responded with statement wins over Reeltown and rival Lanett to secure the No. 2 spot for the upcoming area tournament. In addition to those wins, the Bulldogs ended the week with their eighth consecutive victory over Loachapoka. LaFayette is now 17-4 with just two more regular season games remaining.

LaFayette’s most unbelievable loss of the season came against Reeltown on December 8, and the Dog’s were determined not to see a repeat when the two teams met again on Tuesday. The Bulldogs were red-hot the entire game, jumping out to a 17-7 lead on their way to a 75-52 win.

Several players stepped up for the Bulldogs, including Jatarvious Whitlow, who led all scorers with 20 points. Trevond Barnes finished with 18 points, including 11 in the first half.

The showdown with Lanett was all it was expected to be. With the Dog Palace packed to the rafters, the Bulldogs and Panthers engaged in a battle that provided intensity throughout.

After exchanging baskets over the first five minutes, LaFayette took a lead they would hold until end of the first quarter. The Dogs led 21-16 going into the second, but the Panthers went on an 8-0 run over the span of one minute to take the lead. LaFayette then battled back to regain the lead with five minutes to play. The lead would change hands three more times before the Dogs pulled ahead to a 37-34 edge at halftime.

LaFayette would maintain their advantage throughout the third quarter, leading by as much as eight at one point. They would head to the fourth with a 50-44 lead, one they would never relinquish.

With four minutes to play, the Bulldogs had pulled ahead by 14, but two questionable technical fouls allowed Lanett to catch up. The Panthers cut their deficit to five with 56 seconds to play, but Barnes hit four straight free throws to secure the 66-57 win.

The Bulldogs did an excellent job spreading out their scoring in the win. Three players reached double digits, led by Barnes’ 15 points. Barnes and Kaminski Bledsoe each scored six points in the fourth quarters, with Bledsoe totaling 12 points for the game. Maurice Foster was especially impressive in the second half and finished with 10 points.

Riding the emotional high from Friday, there was some concern that the Bulldogs would stay focused when they hosted Loachapoka Saturday. That concern went out the door right from the start.

LaFayette opened the game on a 22-8 run and would go on to destroy the Indians 76-24.

One LaFayette player had a career night in the win. Kentrel Holloway got hot from behind the three-point line early in the second quarter and he didn’t cool off the entire night. Holloway finished with seven three-pointers for a game-high 21 points.

Barnes was once again solid with 16 points, while Whitlow scored nine.

LaFayette will try to keep rolling as they close out their regular season this week. They will be going for season sweeps against Dadeville, who they will face on Friday, and Valley, who they will host on Saturday.

*For full story see this week’s print edition of The Sun.

January 28, 2015 | Posted in: Prep, Sports | Comments Closed

Chambers gets top seed in Region Tournament

Tae Henry drives to the basket in Chambers' win over Lyman Ward.

Tae Henry drives to the basket in Chambers’ win over Lyman Ward.

Chambers earned 3 wins last week, but the most important one came on Tuesday when they defeated Lyman Ward to clinch the Class 1A Region 1 East regular season title. The Rebels have secured the No. 1 seed for the region tournament, which begins this Thursday.

It took a while for Chambers to pull away from the Rangers last Tuesday. Chambers led by two after the first quarter, and 30 seconds into the second, Lyman Ward tied the game at 13. They would never lead, however, as the Rebels ended the half on a 12-0 run.

Chambers would extent their lead to 38-20 after the third, and would go on to win 59-44.

Jay Tinsley led the CA offensive charge, finishing with 21 points, along with seven rebounds. Jake Burton chipped in 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

With the No. 1 seed locked up, the Rebels put the icing on the cake when they defeated South Montgomery on Thursday to finish undefeated in the Region.

Chambers opened the game on a 20-8 run and would go to win easily 59-31.

Tinsley had another dominant offensive performance with 22 points; he also grabbed four steals. Trent Dodgen was exceptional under the basket, grabbing 16 rebounds in addition to seven points. Malik Lyons added 12 points and four steals.

The Rebels had their eight-game win streak snapped on Friday when they ran into a hot-shooting Lee-Scott team. The Warriors drained nine first half three-pointers and would take a commanding 40-19 halftime lead. They would go on to win 64-37.

Tinsley led the team with 13 points, while Tae Henry added eight and Dodgen had six.

The Rebels closed their regular season with a win over Macon-East on the road Monday night. Chambers was efficient offensively early in the game, jumping out to a 34-22 halftime lead. They basically put the game away after a 12-3 run to open the second half. CA would go on to win 56-39.

Jamie Brown had an outstanding game, scoring 15 and grabbing eight rebounds. He was one of three Rebels in double digits. Tinsley finished with 14, while Henry scored 11. With the regular season in the books, the Rebels (16-6) now move on to the Region Tournament. The East No. 1 seeded Rebels will face West No. 4 seed Abbeville on Thursday at 4 pm CST in Cecil at the Macon-East gymnasium. If Chambers wins they will face the winner of West No. 2 Lakeside and East No. 3 Lyman Ward on Friday at 7:30. The Region 1 championship will take place on Saturday at 4:30.

*For full story see this week’s print edition of The Sun.

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