For the second time this season, the Laney boys basketball team won a close game against Josey, this time pulling out a 57-51 win Friday night.
“It lived up to the hype,” said Wildcats coach Jerry Hunter, whose squad won 40-39 in the season’s first meeting.
Not much separated the two squads during Friday’s game, though both led by at least five points in the second half.
Shaquille Cook’s score inside was followed by four consecutive points from Glenn Rodriguez as the Wildcats turned a tie into a 53-47 lead.
Darius Williams, who scored the third quarter’s first 10 points, which gave Josey a 32-27 advantage, cut the lead to two late in the game, but the Eagles (16-9) didn’t score again. Williams scored a team-high 18 points.
After Josey cut the lead to 53-51, an intentional foul call allowed Laney to add two more points at the free-throw line before Cook, who finished with 13 points, capped the victory with a slam.
“This is a tune-up before the region tournament starts,” Josey coach Jabari Levi said. “We’ll play similar teams in order to win our region.”
During the back-and-forth contest, each team’s fans took turns rising up and roaring their approval.
At one stretch, Laney’s Raheem Newton hit a wide-open 3-pointer, but it was quickly answered by a great move on a drive from Josey’s Kyle Doyle, who had 13 points in the game.
“Right now we’re 19-4,” Hunter said. “Everybody wrote us off this season, so that’s a great accomplishment.”
In the girls game, Laney used steals to make an early deficit disappear on its way to an easy 86-56 win.
Down four after the first quarter, the Lady Wildcats (24-1) used pressure to score 33 points in the second quarter.
Jermeka Gibson and DeKoya Mack were the catalysts, abruptly ending Josey possessions with steals and putting in layups. Mack finished with 21 points. Gibson had 11
Five players scored in double figures for the Lady Wildcats.
After Mack put up 10 points in the dominant second quarter, Katice Williams tallied 11 in the third.
Shaniqua Sullivan and LaPorscha Wells compiled 41 of Josey’s points as Laney controlled the glass on both ends of the floor and also stretched out the defense with seven 3-pointers. Sullivan had 24 points while Wells finished with 17.