Winning night for Cougars
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was anybody’s game.
In a tightly contested first half, the Lafayette Christian and Heirway Christian boys’ teams fought to a 24-24 tie.
There was no suspense in the second half, though.
The Cougars scored the first 15 points of the third quarter to take control, and they led comfortably the rest of the way to claim a 55-41 victory.
It was a key win for the Cougars as they fight for one of the four spots in the GICAA Region 4-AA tournament.
With four regular-season games remaining, the Cougars likely need to win out to advance to the region tournament.
The Cougars took care of business on Thursday with a dominant third quarter.
When Devin Lindsey scored moments into the second half, the Cougars were off and running.
Cameron Gisler connected for back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Cougars an eight-point lead, and Lane Starling’s long-distance shot pushed the lead to 11.
When Lindsey scored with 1:50 left in the third quarter, Lafayette Christian had a 39-24 lead.
“What we talked about (at the half) was coming out with defensive intensity, and let’s be patient and get good shots,” Lafayette Christian head coach David Gisler said. “We made a couple of threes there early that got us going, and defensively we were solid all night long. We had 21 steals for the game.”
The Cougars’ lead was down to 11 through three quarters, but a 9-1 run over the first two minutes of the fourth quarter put the game on ice.
Starling’s 3-pointer capped that run and gave the Cougars a 48-29 lead, and they cruised from there.
Lindsey led the Cougars with 16 points, with 14 of those points coming in the second half, and Cameron Gisler scored 12 points.
In the girls’ game, Savanna Bryant scored seven of her 12 points in the fourth quarter to help Lafayette Christian edge Heirway Christian 30-28.
It was a critical win for the Lady Cougars, who are in fourth place in the region, putting them in position to secure one of the four spots for the region tournament.
Lafayette Christian led by seven points with less than five minutes to play, but Heirway Christian fought back to make a game of it.
Heirway Christian had possession at the end, and two potential game-tying shots didn’t connect.
Lafayette Christian head coach Rene Gomez said his inexperienced team is still learning to deal with pressure from opposing defenses.
“When we get pressure, they don’t know how to settle down, and they start throwing the ball away,” Gomez said. “Right now, 75 percent of our team are sophomores and below. Hopefully with some more experience we’ll get that. We’ve got some talent, we just have to have some poise.”
Bryant came up big in the fourth quarter, scoring all seven of her team’s points, and she was 5-of-7 from the free-throw line in the final eight minutes.
“She’s our leading scorer this year, our leading rebounder,” Gomez said. “She’s got good instincts for the game of basketball. She’s stepping into that leadership role, and trying to get the things done that we need to do to be a leader.”
Lafayette Christian’s teams will be at home today against Harvester Christian.
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