On her 18th birthday, Laney’s Khadijiah Cave wanted to make sure she started the playoffs on the right foot. The biggest margin of victory for the Lady Wildcats this season made for a good gift.
Laney opened the Class AA state playoffs with a 77-16 romp over Toombs County on Tuesday night.
The 61-point victory was the largest margin this season for the Lady Wildcats. The previous high was 55 points against Harlem on Jan. 22.
Laney advances to the second round Friday at home against Taylor County.
Cave, who walked out of the locker room following the game with balloons and roses, scored 25 points to lead Laney. The Lady Wildcats moved to 27-0. Toombs County finishes at 14-11.
“I was excited for this one,” Cave said. “I wanted to do my birthday right. We stayed focused and played hard. We know we can’t judge a book by its cover, and we can’t anticipate we have it won before it ends.”
Aliyah Collier added 11 points for Laney, which scored its third-most points in a game this year. The trio of Simone Smith, Destiny Brewton and Wynetta Wright each had eight.
“The kids played well,” coach Otis Smart said. “Stemming off that last game (against Dublin) when they came back, it showed a 20-point lead is nothing. We came out strong in this one.”
Any adrenaline left from the Region 3-AA win over Dublin on Saturday was taken out on the Lady Bulldogs, who managed just two points in the first quarter compared to the Lady Wildcats’ 29.
Laney held a 50-5 lead at halftime, allowing Smart to balance the playing time down the stretch.
Several players came off the bench to log minutes in the second half.
Smart said he was pleased with what he saw from the role players.
Jonkata Samuels, Monteria Harris and Nateria Tanksley combined for 11 points in relief.
Deja Jones led Toombs County with seven points, including one 3-pointer. Deavia Howard added four for the Lady Bulldogs, who ended their season with a 14-11 record.
“We still have to get better and tougher,” Smart said. “We realize we have to work hard, because it only gets tougher. You just keep working and hope good things happen. You trust and hope.”