Early run helps Lady Wildcats cruise

Laney girls 69, Thomasville 22

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Laney's Simone Smith takes a shot against Thomasville during action at Laney High School Wednesday.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Laney's Simone Smith takes a shot against Thomasville during action at Laney High School Wednesday.

TEAM PAGE: Laney Wildcats

The Lady Wildcats keep winning, and the streak is defined by early back-breaking runs.

The Laney girls basketball team went on one of its signature game-clinching runs in the first half, leading it to a 69-22 rout at home against Thomasville in the second round of the Class AA state tournament. Laney, which has won 25 games in a row, advances to a Saturday quarterfinal game at Savannah State.

“We just hope that it doesn’t stop,” Lady Wildcats coach Otis Smart said of the big runs.

As post players Khadijah Cave, Chelsea Maultsby and Simone Smith towered over foes and grabbed rebound after rebound, guards DeKoya Mack, Jermeka Gibson and Katice Williams used quick hands to get steals and create layup chances.

In about five minutes, Laney scored 19 points; Thomasville scored only 12 points the entire first half.

The run stretched the Lady Wildcats’ lead from 14-8 late in the first quarter to an insurmountable 33-8 cushion in the second period.

It took the Lady Bulldogs more than six minutes to get their first point, and by then Cave already had
seven points as she and Smith stood tall and blocked shots. Cave had 15 points and was one of five Laney players to put up at least nine points.

At the same time, Thomasville put up long 3-point attempts and had little success.

It got even worse after halftime, with Laney’s pressure and rebounding shutting scoring opportunities.

On offense, Gibson broke out, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers as the Lady Wildcats (28-1) scored the first 10 points of the third quarter to lead 54-12. She finished with 16 points.

The rout leaves Laney one win away from returning to the state semifinals.

“We got to keep wanting it,” Mack said.


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