Paul Laurence Dunbar served its latest notice to the 11th Region with a 73-42 demoliton of No. 6 Lafayette on Tuesday night.
Junior star Taveion Hollingsworth led the way with 25 points on 9-for-14 shooting while Darius Williams chipped in 15 points on a 7-for-12 clip. Williams put the Bulldogs up 50-26 on a half-court outlet pass from Justin Kelley before immediately exiting with cramps late in the third quarter.
The No. 2 Bulldogs solidified themselves as the No. 1 seed once 43rd District play gets underway next month with their most complete victory yet. They led 30-19 at halftime after Kelley swished in a three-pointer from the corner as time expired.
“We had to come in the game and do what we had to do,” Hollingsworth said. “ ... We know every team we play is coming out to get us because of the rankings and stuff. Before the game we know they’re hyped to play us so we gotta be ready.”
Coach Scott Chalk was thrilled with his team’s effort in the 31-point win, the Bulldogs’ second-largest of the season.
“We didn’t play lazy the whole game,” Chalk said. “Any time. We made some mistakes but we didn’t play lazy and that’s a big thing. You gotta overcome that every night and that’s the tough part about it with kids this age. So I’m proud of that.”
Lafayette shot 2-for-15 from beyond the arc and never got into a rhythm offensively after senior center Ross Jenkins picked up two fouls in the opening minutes of the first quarter.
“When we don’t knock down shots we can’t press and that’s just not our style,” Generals Coach Mike Mendenhall said. “ ... I think their seniors outplayed our seniors, is what it came down to.”
Chris Wharton and William Watkins came off the bench to lead Lafayette in scoring with 11and 10 points, respectively.
Mendenhall remained optimistic about his team’s chances to make noise moving forward. They’ll get an immediate chance to see what they’re made of when they go to No. 9 Henry Clay on Thursday. The Generals might be 0-2 against Dunbar so far this season, but ...
“To get to Rupp, we only have to beat ’em once.,” Mendenhall said. “So it’s not the end of the world. This isn’t a loss in Februry or a loss in March. The sun’s gonna shine tomorrow.
Lafayette girls hold off Dunbar
Kiara Pankins scored 31 points and brought down 13 rebounds, both game highs in Lafayette's 69-55 win at Paul Laurence Dunbar on Tuesday night.
Caroline Bennett added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Generals, who improved to 5-0 against 43rd District competition this season.
After leading by as many as 11 points in the first half, Lafayette's youthful bunch had to refocus after the Bulldogs pulled ahead early in the third quarter.
Coach Allison Denton attributed the lapse to her girls hesitating to takeover in the moment.
"At halftime we talked about 'Stop waiting and you go make it happen. Everybody has a responsibility to do something,'" Denton said. "But that's part of coaching a younger team."
Lafayette is still finding its confidence on the court. "They're very gifted, but a lot of that stuff you can't learn until you're out there with the clock ticking," Denton said.
Dunbar climbed out of a 20-9 hole in the second quarter to ties things before the break on four consecutive free throws by sophomore Mashayla Cecil.
Autumn Herriford gave the Bulldogs their first lead off a dish by Cecil just over the mid-court stripe. The teams traded the lead over the next 40 seconds before Lafayette went on an 11-0 to regain control. Pankins scored nine of those points in about a minute for the Generals.
"All of them were out there wanting to win and putting forth the effort," Denton said. "They're just young and they're learning."
Boys: Paul Laurence Dunbar 73, Lafayette 42
Lafayette (15-5) — Powell 5, Greenup 1, Dreux 3, Carpenter 4, Lane 5, Wharton 11, Jenkins 3, Watkins 10.
Dunbar (18-4) — Lewis 6, D. Brown 8, Hollingsworth 25, Keplinger 3, Kelley 6, Williams 14, J. Brown 4, Clark 4, Richardson 2.
Girls: Lafayette 69, Paul Laurence Dunbar 55
Lafayette (13-6) — DeBilzan 5, Bennett 15, Pankins 31, Wilson 7, Abram 5, Conwell 4, Gar-Carter 2.
Dunbar (5-11) — Herriford 8, Cecil 22, P. Humphreys 8, Cotton 12, Stevenson 1, Blair 2, Franklin 2.