Bulldogs outlast Panthers in epic rivalry battle

Published 10:56 pm Friday, January 19, 2024

The no. 1 ranked LaFayette Bulldogs used a strong second half to remain undefeated in area play and down Lanett 59-49 at home. 

Neither team was able to take control of the game early on after the first half the score was dead even at 28. 

The Bulldogs finally found some wiggle room in the third period and held a four-point lead going into the final eight minutes of action. Then, LaFayette took the game over in the final period. 

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The Panthers scored just four points through the first half of the fourth period. In total, the Bulldogs outscored Lanett 15-9 to close out the game. 

“I knew once we got them into a man situation, they were going to have to play Dra Vines one-on-one,” LaFayette coach Chase Lewis said. “It kind of opened up everything so we kind of spread the floor a little bit.” 

The win over the Panthers guarantees that LaFayette will host the area tournament after the regular season. Lewis is not putting much stock in the undefeated area record because he knows that anything can happen in the postseason. 

“We hosted the area tournament last year, and they beat the dog (crap) out of us in the championship game,” Lewis said. “This means nothing. It just means I don’t have to travel and I save gas money. We’ve got to get better. That team was really good. Coach [Tay] McCants coached his tail off over there.” 

Branaviyun Story was dominant in the paint for LaFayette. Story continually gave the Bulldogs extra possessions, and he led the team with 17 points after playing limited minutes with foul trouble. 

“That’s the main thing that hurt us in the first half because he got three fouls,” Lewis said. “Once he picked up his second foul, that was my fault. I should have taken him out of the game. We knew from the beginning of the game that B.B. was the X-factor in this game, so once we got him back in the second half it made life easy for us.” 

Vederrian Story and DeAundra Vines were also big parts of the win for LaFayette finishing with 10 and 11 points, respectively. Nakia Bynum led the Panthers with 17 points. Jeremiah McGilberry and Shamar Patterson each followed with 11 points. 

The win on Friday improved LaFayette’s record to 15-5 on the season and 5-0 in area play. The Bulldogs have their last area game as they travel to Horseshoe Bend on Jan. 22. Up next for the Panthers is a matchup with Callaway at home on Saturday.