Boys' 43rd District: Smith's 29 power Dunbar past Lafayette 83-66 in semifinals

mfields@herald-leader.comFebruary 19, 2013 

Quick beat big again.

Paul Laurence Dunbar's boys rolled past Lafayette 83-66 in the 43rd District semifinals at Lexington Christian in a showdown of top 20 teams on Tuesday night.

It was the Bulldogs' third double-digit win over Lafayette this season, and again showed that Dunbar's superior guard play and quickness was a powerful antidote to the Generals' tree-top lineup.

Mike Smith, a 5-foot-10 senior guard who led the way with 29 points, said it wasn't just quick beating big. "It showed execution beats out-of-order, too. We executed, and we didn't let them."

No. 16 Dunbar, assured of its first trip to the 11th Region tournament in five years, will play Wednesday's semifinal winner between Lexington Catholic and Lexington Christian in Friday's district finals.

"This means everything to me," said Scott Chalk, who coached in Franklin County for two decades before taking over at Dunbar this season. "This right here is the whole reason I came, to get them back to the regional tournament."

Dunbar beat Lafayette by 16 and 14 points during the regular season, and the third time unfortunately looked familiar to Generals Coach Mike Mendenhall.

"We turned the ball over and struggled to score," he said. "Once they get the lead, they spread you out, and they've got three guards who can go by you and look to their bigs to finish underneath."

Dunbar scored 25 points off 19 Lafayette turnovers.

No. 7 Lafayette's biggest headache, at least in the first half when Dunbar took control, was Smith. He had four three-pointers and 20 points in the first half. He hit two of those threes to help spark an 18-2 run that turned a 17-14 deficit into a 32-19 lead.

The Bulldogs were on top 42-31 at halftime, but Chalk expected the game to be decided in the third quarter.

"We had to weather the storm and win the quarter," he said. "And we did."

Dunbar extended its lead to 63-45 going to the fourth.

Lafayette lost ground partly because it failed to get the ball to 6-8 junior Jackson Davis, who had 18 points in the first half. He hardly touched the ball in the third quarter and went scoreless.

By the time Davis got rolling again, the game was out of reach for the Generals. He finished with 29 points and 16 rebounds. Tranard Chester, with 12 points, was his only teammate in double figures.

Dunbar, on the other hand, spread the wealth.

William Gary, a 6-2 senior guard, had all of his 13 points in the second half. E.J. Floreal, a 6-5 senior, had 12 points. Eric Trigg, a 6-5 senior, had eight points and nine rebounds. And Donnie Lewis, a 6-0 junior guard, chipped in with five points, four assists and steady ball-handling.

"That was fun," Smith said, smiling and holding his "player of the game' plaque. "This was the perfect time for us to come together, and play as good as we've played all year."

Paul Dunbar 83, Lafayette 66

PAUL DUNBAR (18-9) Smith 29, Floreal 12, Gary 13, Trigg 8, Lewis 5, Peasah 2, Black 6, King 2, McHugh 2, Davis 4.

LAFAYETTE (16-11) Davis 29, Chester 12, Evans 3, Trisko 5, Jackson 6, Whiting 1, Sweatt-Washington 4, Blakley 1, Robinson 5.

Paul Dunbar 17 25 21 20—83

Lafayette 17 14 14 21—66

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337 Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com

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