There was no sign of a letdown from the Laney girls on Monday.
Two days after battling their rival to a hard-fought win, the Lady Wildcats were tasked with one of the top teams in Class AAA. They were up to the challenge by beating Johnson 73-53 at Evans’ MLK tournament.
Laney (17-0) fought to a 67-60 victory at Josey on Saturday, featuring dramatic scoring runs and a close finish. Despite the potential for fatigue as a factor two days later on a tournament game during the day, the Lady Wildcats pressed hard and picked up their latest rout.
“This was a good test,” said Laney senior De’Sha Benjamin, who scored 25 points. “We learned from Saturday at Josey. They’re a good team, but we pulled it out. We’re all kind of tired, but we’ve got to bounce back tomorrow and play Westside.”
Johnson (10-4), out of Savannah, was the Class AAA runner-up last season and is a consistent presence deep in the playoffs. But Laney answered its speed with its own and racked up turnovers and points from its tough defense and transition offense.
Jaiden Hamilton scored 19 points and Jhessyka Williams added 18 for Laney. Johnson was led by Sy’Marieona Williams’ game-high 26 points.
“That guard they’ve got is very impressive,” Laney coach Otis Smart said. “They’re scrappy. They’re a team to be reckoned with.”
Laney set the rout in motion early by jumping to a 20-10 lead on a Williams layup with seven minutes left in the second quarter.
The advantage grew to 24-10 at 5:30 for the team’s largest lead of the first half before Johnson crawled back to 34-24 on a Jazmine Thompson jumper with 14 seconds left. The Lady Wildcats led 36-24 at the break.
Williams picked up a hard-fought layup at 5:30 in the third for a 44-25 lead, and Laney reached a 20-point advantage at 47-27 on a Benjamin free throw with 3:30 left in the quarter.
The Lady Wildcats outscored Johnson 20-9 in the third and led 56-33 entering the fourth.
Johnson went on a 7-0 run to begin the fourth and got as close as 60-49 with 4:22 left, but Laney responded with an 11-0 run to seal the victory.
Reach David Lee at (706) 823-3216 or email@example.com.
LANEY 73, JOHNSON 53
JOHNSON (53) – Alana Boone 3, J’mya Cutter 8, Jazmine Thompson 12, Checobia Hugie 4, Sy’Marieona Williams 26. Totals: 19 11-22 53.
LANEY (73) – Jhessyka Williams 18, Jaiden Hamilton 19, Danita Baker 4, Whitney Anderson 2, Nekiyah Booker 3, De’Sha Benjamin 25, Joyce Eberhart 2. Totals: 30 12-27 73.
3-point goals: Johnson 4 (Williams 4), Laney 1 (Booker).
Records: Johnson 10-4, Laney 17-0. Next: Johnson at Windsor Forest, 6 p.m., today. Westside at Laney, 5 p.m., today.