MACON, Ga. — The semifinal slump continues.
For the fourth year in a row, the Laney girls basketball team saw its season end in a Class AA state semifinal, this time with a 56-41 Thursday loss to Lovett at the Macon Coliseum.
“We had a great season,” Lady Wildcats coach Otis Smart said. “We just didn’t have any answers tonight.”
The first three losses during the stretch were to Buford, and the most recent setback came at the hands of a patient Lady Lions squad that led by double figures for most of the second half.
While the Lady Wildcats (29-2) sometimes slogged through with turnovers, Lovett easily solved Laney’s pressure and also methodically broke down the Lady Wildcats’ defense in the half court.
Tatianna Jackson couldn’t be stopped, moving without the ball for cuts to the hoop and baskets in transition. She scored 28 points.
Laney, which rallied from 15 down to beat Morgan County in the quarterfinals, still tried to ignite a similar comeback on Thursday.
Instead, with the Lady Wildcats trailing by six at the half, the Region 3-AA champions scored only 16 points in the second half.
Lovett stretched out its defense to contest 3s, and though DeKoya Mack did connect for one in the fourth quarter, Laney was cold for the majority of the second half.
“All of our (starting) guards did great defensively,” Lovett coach Liz Kennedy said.
The Lady Wildcats’ strength inside with Khadijah Cave and Simone Smith helped Laney overcome even worse outside shooting against Morgan County, but the post players struggled with their shots on Thursday. The duo combined for 17 points.
However, Cave did have five points in the fourth quarter, with her and-one basket and free throw making it a 46-35 game.
But Laney never got within single digits as Lovett used long possessions to take away time and end the Lady Wildcats’ season.
“I’m sorry they fell short,” said Smart, talking about the senior class.