Right back up they continued to go, moving above foes with jumps or reaching arms, determined to grab the rebound.
Again and again, Laney’s strength inside did the job, and it worked with defensive pressure to lead the Lady Wildcats to a 72-49 win Tuesday night against Hephzibah in the 100 Black Women of Augusta’s girls basketball tournament at Glenn Hills.
“We mess up and we’re right there to make it up,” Jermeka Gibson said. “We have fun.”
Players like Khadijah Cave, Gibson, Chelsea Maultsby and Katice Williams boxed out and outworked Lady Rebels players inside for second-, third- and fourth-chance opportunities.
Laney outscored Hephzibah in all four quarters, taking a double-digit lead for good when Maultsby finished a putback chance to make it 30-19 in the second quarter.
Six players had least seven points for Laney, with post player Maultsby scoring 15 and Gibson and DeKoya Mack both chipping in with 13 points.
The two guards both had a breakout quarter, with Gibson totaling eight in the second and Mack collecting nine in the final quarter.
To go along with its strong play inside, Laney (2-0) also pushed the tempo, looking down the court for an open player and trying to gain an even larger advantage with transition buckets.
When they did have success, it was often in bunches, with Gibson and Mack finding teammates for close shots on either drives or lobs.
Though the Lady Rebels’ Shashana Miller led all scorers with 18 points – and was one of three Hephzibah freshmen to score in the game – Tiffani Harrison left the game early in the fourth with a shoulder injury.
When the Lady Wildcats didn’t force turnovers, they often deflected passes or blocked shots to disrupt Hephzibah’s offense.
In the second period, Cave showed just that when she knocked down a Lady Rebels pass before Gibson received one herself to put in an easy layup. The Lady Wildcats soon pushed their lead to 14 at the half.
“We’re young,” Hephzibah coach Wendell Lofton said. “We’re going to grow.”