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LaFayette loses to Barbour County in State semifinal

BIRMINGHAM — After dominating their 2019-20 schedule, the LaFayette boys’ basketball team fell to Barbour County 64-62 in the 2A state semi-final game.

“That team was a really tough team just physically,” LaFayette head coach Obadiah Threadgill said. “They’re just so big and so long and strong, and they play like it.  I’m very proud of our young men for the way they competed. We made a few mistakes, and they cost us.”

The Bulldogs, who normally dominate teams by the end of the first quarter, struggled to get any offensive consistency early in the first quarter. They missed jump shots and turned the ball over more than they normally do. In the first four minutes of the game, they turned the ball over four times. Those woes along with the Jaguars dominating inside forced the Bulldogs to fall behind, trailing by 11 by the 4:44 mark of the first quarter. The lowest the Bulldogs were able to cut the deficit to was eight for the remainder of the quarter. 

“It was just like we weren’t there,” senior point guard Corey Boston said. “I put it on myself. Being the leader of the team, I should have sparked a fire under these guys early.”

The Jaguars scored the first three points of the second quarter, building the lead back to 11. Whenever the Bulldogs made a shot, the Jaguars answered until the 4:38 mark of the second quarter. With the deficit back at 11, the Bulldogs finally woke up. They ended the first half on a 14-4 run.

“We just got it in our minds that we were ready to play,” Boston said. 

The Bulldogs ended the first half down one. 

LaFayette continued its run into the second half, scoring 24 seconds into the third quarter. The basket gave LaFayette its first lead of the game. A minute and 15 seconds later, sophomore center Antavious Woody hit a jumper to give the Bulldogs a three-point lead.

From that point, the third quarter was a fight. Both teams answered a score. The largest lead of the quarter was three points. 

That fight continued into the fourth, as each team answered a made shot with a made shot or a missed shot with a missed shot. 

The game changed with 1:15 left in regulation. Boston, the Bulldogs’ primary ball-handler, picked up his fifth foul. At the time, LaFayette trailed by two, but its offense was stagnant. 

The Bulldogs made just two shots the remainder of the game. 

Throughout the season, the Bulldogs were able to speed up games by pressing teams and forcing turnovers. They didn’t Monday.

“They just played really big. Their spacing was good,” Threadgill said. “We got our hands on some balls early, but they just came up with the 50-50 balls. When we did set our press, they just did a good job of breaking it.”

Instead of forcing turnovers, the Bulldogs turned the ball over, finishing with 17.

“Normally that number is more beneficial to us,” Threadgill said. 

LaFayette was also unable to get to the free-throw line, finishing with just four attempts. Barbour County went to the line 23 times. 

Tae Burton led the Bulldogs in scoring, finishing with 26 points. Boston was the only other Bulldog to finish in double figures, scoring 11 points.
The Bulldogs finished the year 31-1. They will graduate 11 of the 14 players on the roster.

“These guys have some really bright futures ahead of them,” Threadgill said. “I’m very thankful for them, not just as basketball players but ambassadors to our school. These are great young men.”