LaFayette boys win first game over Lanett since 2019

Published 11:12 pm Friday, January 6, 2023

If you want a fast-paced rivalry game between two scrappy teams, look no further than Lanett-LaFayette.

The LaFayette Bulldogs were hungry for their first win in the rivalry since 2019, and that’s exactly what happened in their 56-44 win over the Panthers at home on Friday.

LaFayette head coach Chase Lewis is happy to take home the victory in what could be the final Panthers-Bulldogs  rivalry game on John T. Woody Court, but he knows his team still has work to do.

Email newsletter signup

“It doesn’t feel as good as I wanted it to feel,” Lewis said.

“We played a really bad fourth quarter. We played an amazing first three quarters. We played so bad in the fourth quarter that it kind of took the energy out of it.”

The first quarter looked like it was going to belong to Lanett as the Panthers took a quick 6-2 lead and started trapping the Bulldogs on defense.

LaFayette was able to break through the traps, and the Bulldogs regained a 14-12 lead in the first quarter.

A Lanett technical foul gave the Bulldogs a couple free points, and LaFayette was able to take advantage of missed shots and take a 21-14 lead heading into the second quarter.

Lanett fought back in the second quarter as the Panther defense locked down and started to force turnovers.

Despite having the speed, LaFayette was able to play solid defense while staying out of foul trouble to take a 34-25 lead heading into halftime.

Lanett had seven fouls in the first half while the Bulldogs only had one.

Lewis explained how his team was able to break through Lanett’s traps.

“We just practiced for these moments,” Lewis said.

“We know their style of play. We protected the ball. Our guys did a lot to get ready for them. We played three awesome quarters. I don’t know what happened in the fourth. I’ve never seen us look like that. We have to stay engaged for four quarters. This win gives us a handle in the area. We took care of business at home.”

The third quarter was the dagger f0r Lanett as the Bulldog defense held the Panthers to only seven points.

As frustration settled in for Lanett, the fourth quarter opened with some confusion.

The referee blew the whistle to start the quarter, and Lanett wasn’t on the court.

The Bulldogs took advantage and got an easy layup to take a 52-34 lead.

The rest of the fourth quarter was a valiant effort by Lanett, as the Panthers closed the LaFayette lead to 12.

Despite the turnaround, the Bulldogs hung on to win an important area game.

Lewis was pleased with how his defense played.

“In the first three quarters, we were more engaged,” Lewis said.

“We were talking. We were focused. That helped us out. I’m glad we got the win, but it was extremely ugly. My focus is now on Reeltown.”

Lanett head coach Tay McCants couldn’t be reached for comment, but assistant coach Ritae Zeigler gave his thoughts on the game.

“We just have to keep working,” Zeigler said.

“They had an awesome crowd, but we have to get back to playing Lanett basketball. We’re going to get it together. This is one area game. We’ll be OK. We play these guys two more times. Lanett is the standard. Once we get back to being the standard, we’ll be fine.”