Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Laney hustles its way to another huge win

Last week I wrote that Laney's "secret sauce" is playing harder, much harder, than its opponents.  I should add that it helps to have a bunch of guys who can make shots.  For the second consecutive Saturday, the Wildcats knocked off one of the state's best teams in their own backyard.  The latest victim was Georgia's then third ranked (according to HoopSeen.com) Norcross.  While only managing to score 8 points and 9 points in the first and third quarters, respectively, Buck Harris' team proved that defense and effort travel well.  And it didn't hurt that the team closed each half with monster offensive performances, scoring a combined 53 points to seal the 70-59 win in the GAC/Blue Collar Basketball Showcase.

Junior Zep Jasper (16), senior Jashawn Brooks (15) and Christian Keeling (13) led the Wildcats in scoring.  After defeating the state's then #1 ranked Pebblebrook and then #3 ranked Norcross, Laney continues its march up Hoop Seen's "Power Poll" rankings into the #2 spot.  Tonight the Wildcats begin their region schedule against local rival Glenn Hills.  The Spartans host the Laney at 6:45 P.M.

Notes from Saturday

Laney relied on its defense to stay within striking distance while the team struggled to score early. This clip begins with the game's initial possession.  Norcross is unable to get into its offense and Zep Jasper and Christian Keeling are extremely active, eventually forcing a turnover.  Then you'll see Jasper, Jaylen Taylor, and Collin Young make enough shots to give Laney a 13-12 lead early in the second quarter.

The next video begins with the most exciting sequence of the first half as Jasper buries a three, Jervon Walker gets a steal and finishes in transition, and after Jasper makes a diving save and starts another fast break, Taylor dunks with two hands off the stride in transition over Norcross' center to give Laney a 20-14 lead.  Later in the video, Brooks and Young make shots to give Laney a 28-20 lead. These two will be back later with more game changing plays.

Laney would nurse an 8-10 point lead until a furious Norcross run cut the deficit to 2 entering the 4th quarter.  Then the Wildcats would benefit from the kind of effort that coaches dream of getting from players.  The next video shows no fewer than five fourth quarter possessions where sheer effort creates baskets out of nothing.  Young stays with his own miss to convert amongst the trees. Brooks saves a sure Norcross two and turns it into free throws for Keeling, Jasper goes to the floor to spark a break that ends in a putback for Walker, and Taylor goes to the ground twice to get Laney a possession first and Brooks a breakaway dunk next.

But Norcross is too good to beat with hustle alone.  Plays would have to be made.  Jasper, Brooks, and Young have made big time plays in clutch moments against Saint Francis, Morgan County, and Pebblebrook.  Saturday's win was no exception.  Watch them make shots here:

***Here are posts from the past about the Laney Wildcats***

Dec 9, 2014
Laney's Secret Sauce:  Playing Harder (Easier said than done)

Dec 1, 2014
Laney Beats Morgan County at Home

Nov 24, 2014
Friday at the Will Avery Tip-Off Tournament

Nov 16, 2014
Laney falls short in season opening thriller

Nov 11, 2014
Laney Opens Season with Nationally Ranked St. Francis

July 11, 2014
Brooks, Taylor, and Walker: ABR Live Summer Send-off

Nov 25, 2013
Laney and Aquinas Open Season with a Statement

March 15, 2012
Laney Makes History

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