Junior Desha Benjamin scored 26 points and senior Aubriana Bonnner tallied 21 as Laney rolled over Glenn Hills 75-28 to start 2-0 in region play. During this my third season following the Lady Wildcats, I am struck by the fact that during that time coach Otis Smart's team has not lost a game against a region opponent, whether during the regular season or the post season.
Benjamin and Bonner, along with senior starters Jhessyka Williams and Jasmine Bartlett, starred on Laney's state title team of two seasons ago. And Jaiden Hamilton, a sophomore, has had a season of consistent playing time for last season's elite 8 state tournament team. All of that is to say there are good reasons to believe Benjamin and her senior teammates may not lose a region game before they graduate.
|Left to Right: Seniors Aubriana Bonner, Jasmine Bartlett, and Jhessyka Williams|
I mean no disrespect to Josey, a solid team that beat Butler 48-25 Tuesday, and that probably has the best chance to prove my statement wrong. The highlights above clearly show the Lady Wildcats, who are regarded by the GHSA expert Kyle Sandy as Georgia's second best AA team, have become a well oiled machine after all these seasons playing together.
|Sophomore Jaiden Hamilton bangs in a three in Tuesday's win.|
For fans wanting to see Laney be tested, a great opportunity will be Saturday's home game against Mays, which is ranked #2 in class AAAAAA by Sandy. Mays beat Laney at Mays last season. And they eliminated Grovetown, another top 10 AAAAAA team, from last season's state playoffs.
Benjamin told me in the interview in the video above that she is eager to see what Mays "will bring to the table." And she referred to "their guard." That would be Kamiyah Street, who scored 47 points in the win over Grovetown last February.
A team like Mays with a player like Street may be the only one Laney faces for months to come with the resume and talent to challenge Augusta's AA dynasty.