High School Basketball

Girls: Lafayette 71, Lexington Christian 40

Lafayette's Sarah Cooley, right, scored in the lane over two LCA defenders. The 6-foot senior had six points and 10 rebounds.
Lafayette's Sarah Cooley, right, scored in the lane over two LCA defenders. The 6-foot senior had six points and 10 rebounds.

When somebody pays you a compliment, you gracefully acknowledge it, then go about your business without an inflated sense of accomplishment.

That's how Lafayette girls' basketball coach Allison Denton told her team to handle being rated No. 5 in the state in the pre-season.

"From day one we told the girls it's a compliment, thank you very much, but we haven't proven anything to anybody," Denton said. "We've got to keep getting better. If we don't, we won't get to where we want to be."

So far, the Generals are following their coach's marching orders. They rolled by host Lexington Christian Academy 71-40 Tuesday night to run their record to 5-0.

Lafayette returns everybody from last year's 11th Region runner-up team. It has size, quickness, depth, athleticism and good shooters.

All those assets were on display against LCA.

Freshman Kiara Pankins, who saw lots of action last season, came off the bench to lead Lafayette with 18 points and seven rebounds.

Ashanti Thomas, a 6-4 junior, had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Sarah Cooley, a 6-0 senior, was an inside factor, too, with six points and 10 rebounds.

Dee Givens, a 5-11 junior, had 16 points, seven rebounds and three steals.

Givens said the team hasn't let its pre-season rating infect its attitude: "We know we've got to stay together and play together, and take it game to game instead of looking ahead."

Denton said her returning players have "taken ownership" of the team this year, and she likes that she has a variety of leaders.

"We've got vocal leaders, kids who lead by statistics, some who lead in practice, some who lead in games, and we've got kids who are encouragers," she said. "We're not leaning on one person."

LCA first-year coach Nick Cann knew his team faced a challenge against Lafayette.

"Their size really bothered us," he said. "Our stats had them with 29 offensive rebounds. It's tough to win any game when you let them get on the glass like that."

Lafayette's defense limited LCA to 28 percent shooting, including 2-for-21 on threes.

"But nobody's hanging their head," Cann said. "I told the girls the goal wasn't to beat Lafayette on Dec. 17. But we'd like to be there and compete better by the end of the season."

Lafayette hopes to get back to the region finals.

"When we lost to (Madison Central) last year, we were a little disappointed," Givens said. "But we also knew we could get back to the championship game this year."

Lafayette 71, LCA 40

LAFAYETTE (5-0) — Givens 16, Cooley 6, Pankins 18, Thomas 17, L.Winn 1, N.Winn 2, S.Demus 3, K.Demus 2, Nagahiro 0, Powell 4, I.Conwell 2.

LEXINGTON CHRISTIAN (2-4) — Huellemeier 16, BUndy 11, Strunk 2, Hartley 2, Panter 2, James 2, Rodgers 1, Brooks 2, Combs 2.

Lafayette 21 20 17 13—71

LCA 8 11 9 12—40

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