Laney pushes past Josey in region semifinals

The streak continues for the Laney boys.

 

The Wildcats again implemented their team-first mentality to get past their rival and push their win streak to 15, beating Josey 53-47 on Friday night.

Laney (24-3) advanced to the Region 4-AA championship game with the victory and will play the winner of the late Friday game between Glenn Hills and Butler. The title game will start at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Josey.

Using its deep bench to rest the starters and adjust on defense, Laney stuck to its formula that has it streaking at the right time. Ten Wildcats contributed to the scoring as Laney beat Josey (8-19) for the third time this season.

“Our young guys came off the bench and gave us great minutes,” Laney coach Shawn Parks said. “They’re programmed a little more to stay at home and not gamble. Their contribution really got us over the hump tonight.”

Donald Henley led Laney with 11 points, while Ronnie Walker had nine and D’Juan Griffin added seven. The Wildcats entered the region tournament as a No. 2 seed behind Glenn Hills and beat Screven County 55-46 in the opener Wednesday.

Rodriguez Daggett posted 14 points for Josey, which was without coach Kelly Winstead because of illness. The Eagles upset Jefferson County 50-47 in the first round Wednesday after losing to the Warriors by double digits four days prior.

After reaching a tie at 11 through the first quarter, Laney scored 19 in the second for a 30-25 lead at the break. Josey’s Aragus Creech drained a couple 3-pointers in the quarter to give the Eagles a 21-17 lead at 3:40, but Laney bounced back, highlighted by a Walker 3 for a 22-21 advantage.

Laney held Josey to just six points in the third as the bench played significant minutes and offered tight defense. The lead was 38-31 entering the fourth.

Daggett hit a jumper with 1:54 left to get Josey within four at 45-41, but Laney again responded when Henley completed a three-point play and Walker offered three consecutive points to cap an 8-0 run that sealed the victory.

“When the guys decided to commit totally to our defense, it helped us,” Parks said. “They played good defense primarily, but sometimes they want to gamble. I think the second half they bought into more of staying at home.”

 

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