Lady Wildcats advance with rout of Jeff Davis

Ty Johnson couldn't tell a lie.


Laney's junior guard was asked about the degree of difficulty Friday night in the first round of the Class AA playoffs. Her Lady Wildcats had just cruised to a 67-35 win against Jeff Davis.

Her breath was in sync after 18 points and eight rebounds.

"This didn't feel like a state playoff game," she said. "It felt like a regular-season home game."

Her brow looked like it was waiting on the first bead of sweat.

"And I really didn't break a sweat at all," she confirmed.

Not even the Jeff Davis coach could disagree.

Hugh McBride has coached against Laney's Otis Smart many times. He'd even surprised a few Smart teams that were contenders in the playoffs.

This was not going to be one of those nights.

Laney (28-2) led 18-2 at the end of a first quarter that wasn't even that close.

The game appeared to be going in a direction McBride predicted it might earlier this week. He brought up the 50-point loss his team suffered to Screven County earlier this year.

Then he mentioned how Laney had beaten the Lady Gamecocks three times. He noted how the last of those was by 11 points. He said his team might get beat by as many as 60 points.

"Tonight was a winning effort for us," McBride said. "I'm looking up at this scoreboard and seeing we only lost by 32. We'll take that home and be happy. Otis and his team was nice to us. I think he's got a team that can win it. I think he can make the Final Four."

That would make Smart happy. He's looking for his team to make a strong push this year.

Smart has many accomplishments in his career. He has won 500-plus games and 18 region titles.

But he has never won a state title.

"It needs to happen," Smart said. "Needs to happen soon."

Smart said he might have two more seasons leading Laney's team after this one.

"I would be as happy as a baby in a bubble bath if these girls could win state this year," Smart said while chuckling. "Except I've gotten so big I'd be a baby that splashes all the bubbles out with just a few splashes."

His team looked capable of making a run with the skills they showed on Friday.

Senior point guard Kami Phillips had 12 assists and eight steals.

Sophomore Glentrice Sapp continued to be as athletic an inside scorer as any young player in the area.

She finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Senior center Jasmine Young added nine rebounds and blocked seven shots.

Senior guard Shaniel Ashley sank two three-pointers on her way to 12 points.

The Lady Wildcats advanced to face Mitchell County on Friday at the Albany Civic Center in Albany, Ga.

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or



PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Laney's Ty Johnson and Glentrice Sapp. Johnson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds. Sapp scored 14 points on just nine shots and grabbed 10 rebounds.

STAT OF THE GAME: Laney's 36 points in the first half were more than Jeff Davis managed for the entire game.