ALBANY, Ga. - Kami Phillips treated the second round of the Class AA playoffs like a test she had already seen and aced before Friday night.
The final evaluation said Laney was better than Mitchell County by a 68-32 margin. Phillips sparked her team to those final numbers in the early going.
She seemed about as comfortable facing Mitchell County at the James H. Gray Civic Center as she would playing them on her neighborhood basketball court.
"I usually am nervous," Phillips said. "But being that this is my third year of these big games, I know what to do and what this level of the playoffs is about. ... I knew if I came out with a lot of heart then it would pick my team up and make them play with all their heart, too."
The senior transfer had five steals and five assists in the first half. Phillips finished with 17 points, nine assists and six steals.
"I had a lot of support from my team," said Phillips, who won a state title at Hephzibah her sophomore year. "I think I've got a team around me that helps me so much. And I think I guess I want to win it all a little more this year."
Laney (28-2) led 31-16 at the half and fell a point shy of scoring more points at the break than it let its opponent score in the game.
"On our best night we could have stayed maybe within 15 points of Laney," Mitchell County coach Kenneth Harris said. "The bottom line is Laney is clearly the better team."
Harris sounded like he was urging the game clock to move along for most of the second half.
"That clock did not tick fast enough," he said. "If I could have went out there and threw out a towel, I would have."
Sophomore Glentrice Sapp led Laney with 18 points, and junior Ty Johnson had 13 points.
The Lady Wildcats led 21-9 at the end of the first quarter.
"That first quarter could not be any more perfect," Laney coach Otis Smart said. "This team is playing better than any team I have had since 1995."
Laney made it to the state finals that year before losing to Woodward Academy.
Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org
GHSA CLASS AA GIRLS GAME REPORT
LANEY 68, MITCHELL COUNTY 32
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Laney's Kami Phillips. The senior point guard finished with 17 points, nine assists, six steals and five rebounds.
STAT OF THE GAME: Laney forced 30 turnovers and only gave the ball up on 10 possessions.
UP NEXT: Laney faces McIntosh County Academy at 7 tonight for a spot in the Class AA Final Four on Thursday in Macon.