Missy Gators eliminated by Lafayette in Class 5A playoffs

Published 9:59 am Saturday, February 23, 2019

By Walker Bailey
The Oxford Eagle

OXFORD — The Lafayette Commodores held on to advance to the third round of the MHSAA Class 5A girls state basketball tournament Friday night with a 71-66 victory over Vicksburg.

Lafayette led by as many as 18 in the game, but lost control in the second half. They led by as much as 18 with 3:22 to go in the third quarter.

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“We had a couple of girls in foul trouble and a couple of girls get tired,” Lafayette coach Shayne Linzy said. “We put our young girls in because they need the work. They had some really good moments, but at the end of the third they really struggled. That’s just part of it and I’m proud of the fact that we were able to fight back.”

Vicksburg (18-13) had its season end in the second round of the state tournament for the third time in four years.

Lafayette (24-6) will host Olive Branch in the third round of the Class 5A playoffs on Monday.

Senior guard Mariah Holland led the Lady Dores with 22 points. Junior guard Azariah Buford was right behind her with 20 points. Lafayette jumped on the Missy Gators early with runs in the first and second quarters.

Lafayette opened with an 8-0 run in the first, and followed suit with a 6-0 run in the second. The Commodores rode the hot start to a 30-17 halftime lead.

“That’s something we talked about before the game started,” Linzy said. “We talked about getting after them early and knocking them down. We got on them in the first quarter, and I felt like we stayed on it. In the second, we got on them again and I don’t know what it was, it could’ve been substitutions or foul trouble.”

Turnovers were the story of the game. Lafayette protected the ball well in the first half. However, Vicksburg (18-13) turned up its pressure in the second half and the Lady Dores struggled.

Lafayette ended the third quarter with three consecutive turnovers that cut the lead to six heading to the fourth. They held on to beat Vicksburg by five.

“We got off to another one of those hot starts in the third to extend the lead to almost 20,” Linzy said. “We made some substitutions based on fouls, and some people got tired. That group got tired and I left them in there to try and finish Vicksburg off. I should have made the substitutions like I normally do to space out who’s out there and who’s not. I’ll take the blame for an exciting finish.”