OLIVE BRANCH – In a battle for first place in Division 2-5A, the Lafayette Lady Commodores got away from the Center Hill Lady Mustangs 74-60 Friday night in the Center Hill High School Gym in their highest scoring contest of the season. In the night cap, the Mustangs never made the game close in their 96-51 blowout victory over the Commodores.
Lafayette (5-5 overall, 2-0 in Division 2-5A) jumped out to an early 12-2 lead only to see Center Hill (8-10, 1-1) respond with a 26-8 run and take a 28-20 lead midway through the second quarter. The Lady Mustangs took a 32-27 lead at the break thanks in part to their full court press frustrating the Lady ‘Dores in the first half.
“We started off playing everybody on my team in the first quarter,” Lafayette coach Shayne Linzy said. “We they got in, they just got rattled. I told them ‘you know what to do, just relax’. It is what it is, but they took the momentum from us and it was a battle for pretty much the rest of the game. We were fortunate enough to do what we need to do in the end and we were able to pull away.”
Lafayette tied the game at 46-46 by the third quarter buzzer and then took the game over from there creating Center Hill turnovers and ultimately Karizma Norphlet and Harmony Jackson both continued to aggressively drive into the lane and the Lady Mustangs continued to foul them. The Lady ‘Dores posted 28 fourth quarter points to pull away with the victory.
“We were aggressive (in the fourth quarter),” Linzy said. “The problem is before the game even started we told them to be aggressive. Sometimes it just takes us a while to get started. We’ve got a big bullseye on our chest this year with losing the seniors that we lost last year. All the teams in our region feels like they have a shot at us, and I love it. So far in these first couple of division games, our girls have stepped up and proven we are still here.”
Norphlet led all scorers with 27 points. Mariah Reed-Jones added 18 points and Jackson tacked on 14 points to lead Lafayette. Dominique Collins and Jaivya Rankins each led Center Hill with 14 points. Kayleigh Preatiss and Candice Buford each chipped in 10 points for Center Hill. Six players for Center Hill committed at least four personal fouls during the contest.
Lafayette girls returns to action Saturday against Olive Branch at home. Tipoff is set for 11:00 a.m.
Center Hill (9-7, 2-0) bolted out of the starting blocks and never looked back. The Mustangs raced out to a 34-5 advantage to begin the contest and led 47-18 at the break in a game that Lafayette (2-8, 0-2) never threatened.
Zandon Havalson for Center Hill led all scorers with a game-high 40 points including 18 in the first quarter on 8-of-13 from 3-point range and 15-of-22 shooting overall from the field to go along with five rebounds and two blocks. Kaeden Laws flirted with a triple-double scoring 14 points along with game-highs of nine rebounds, seven assists and five blocks. Kaison Saunders capped the double-figure scoring for the Mustangs with 12 points. Center Hill as a team shot 55 percent from the field, forced 13 of Lafayette’s 26 turnovers, and had 11 blocked shots.
Lafayette was led by the 17 points and six rebound effort from DJ Davis. Mario Wilbourn chipped in 11 points for the Commodores. Lafayette returns to action Saturday against Lewisburg at home. Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m.