Monday, January 15, 2018

Today at Evans , undefeated Laney tips off day 2 of the 2A Takeover after instant classic Saturday at Josey

Today Laney will play its second game against a top 10 team in 3 days

After Saturday’s matchup between #1 Laney and #6 Josey, which is described in detail below, the Lady Wildcats' game will again today take main event status, this time at Evans High School in a special MLK Day matchup against Johnson of Savannah, which enters with a 10-3 record and the #3 spot in the class 3A rankings.

These are only 2 of a total of 6 top 10 teams playing at Evans Monday. Expect live coverage at the @AugBball Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds. Here is the schedule of games:

Laney’s undefeated streak will be tested again today

Laney’s winning pedigree came in handy Saturday, first when the Lady Wildcats almost put the game out of reach with a 25-12 second quarter run that gave the Wildcats a 20 point halftime lead, and next when Laney responded to that lead evaporating with an 11-0 run as part of a game closing spurt that dashed Josey’s upset hopes.

Stay tuned to @AugBball on social media for Rob Drew's coverage of the 2A Takeover (described here):

Williams gets AugBball Player of the game AND Play of the Game mention

During both spurts it became clear to me that Laney’s roster not only includes the best player in the area, in Alabama signee De’sha Benjamin, but maybe the second best player too in senior Jhessyka Williams. Williams scored 24 of her 30 points in the first half when Laney almost took complete control. And she calmly and patiently answered Tykedra Rolland’s fourth quarter layup, which put Laney behind for the first time, with a drive and a dish for a Jaiden Hamilton score that assured that the Eagles would only have a handful of seconds to lead the mighty Wildcats.

Laney's Benjamin (left) and Williams (right) form the area's best 1-2 punch

Jhessyka’s play impressed the whole AugBball staff. Rob Drew, who is bringing full coverage of the 10 day long  2A Takeover to AugBball’s social media accounts, agreed with me that Williams was Saturday’s “player of the game,” and that her assist to Hamilton was the “play of the game.”

The Wildcats will need more of these kinds of performances today to win their second game against a state title contender in three days.

Josey coach has lofty goals for surging Eagles

Josey made an instant fan of me with their valiant effort Saturday. Coach Jawan Bailey would not let his players quit when they trailed by 20 points at halftime, which couldn’t have been easy after watching all the beatings Laney has handed out during its nearly 50 game winning streak. Not only did the Lady Eagles not give up, but for 12 minutes they manhandled Laney, something I didn’t think would be possible until after Benjamin and Williams graduate, to the tune of a 30-9 run.

Rhykeria Rolland scored a team high 25 points Saturday.

This kind of showing makes it easy to understand why Bailey has such lofty goals for his group, which like Laney relies on a trio of versatile scorers in Tykedra Rolland (14 vs Laney), Rhykeria Rolland (25), and Ebony Clark (14).

"Games will come down to the wire and someone will definitely have to show confidence to lead us down the stretch," Bailey said about winning against the state's best teams. "We want the big one. Region for sure but a shot at the state is our ultimate goal."

Coach Bailey’s expectations are reasonable. And because the three players listed above are all juniors, the Eagles may have several more chances to prove they belong in the state title conversation.

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