Aliyah Collier doesn’t need to rest often. She would rather keep running.
So when she plays in a game with few whistles or stops, she’s free to roam. She can side-step a helpless defender for a layup and then race down the court immediately after the score to squash a layup attempt with a block.
Collier and the Laney girls basketball team thrived in a nearly nonstop pace to rout McIntosh County Academy 85-54 on Monday night at Laney in the second round of the Class AA state playoffs.
“We have a lot of stamina to keep playing,” Collier said. “We don’t get tired as fast.”
The Lady Wildcats (28-1) advanced to the quarterfinals by using a balanced attack and quick-pass offense. Laney scored on seven of its first eight possessions prior to leading 27-20 after one quarter. The gap grew to 56-29 at the half to set the stage for a rout.
Laney’s Wynetta Wright had great touch near the hoop, scoring 12 first-half points. She was one of three Lady Wildcats to reach at least 10 points by the half. Wright, Collier, Destiny Brewton and Gemiya Bowman all scored between nine and 12 points in the first two quarters. At the final whistle, five different Lady Wildcats reached double digits and 11 players scored.
The Lady Bucs did their best to stay close early, as Makhala Jackson scored 24 points and McIntosh County Academy broke the press well enough in the first quarter.
But as the action continued, efficient Laney started to force more turnovers, it got back on defense and its offense stayed almost unstoppable with high-percentage looks.
McIntosh County Academy just couldn’t keep pace with the deep Lady Wildcats, who now must travel to play undefeated Pelham in the Class AA state quarterfinals for a contest between two teams with a combined one loss.
“They played well,” Laney coach Otis Smart said. “The only thing we have to work on is getting back in transition.”