LaFayette and Lanett join Valley at summer play date
VALLEY — Three local teams played in the basketball summer play date at Valley High School on Thursday afternoon.
LaFayette High School, Lanett High School, Smiths Station High School and host Valley High School all duked it out for four games.
In the first game, Smiths Station and Lanett traded basket-for-basket until the final minute when Panthers junior Trey Abner hit the go-ahead putback with 11 seconds remaining.
“That just lets you know who wants the ball late,” Lanett boys head basketball coach Richard Carter said. “He wanted it, he took the shot and I enjoyed watching them play. The main thing is the way we played, we just didn’t quit. Even last week when we were down in Columbus, we wouldn’t quit.”
Valley and LaFayette was the second game of the day, with the Rams trying to avenge one of their three losses, counting the Handley holiday tournament, to Bulldogs last season. LaFayette missed five players on the day to football 7-on-7s at Auburn University, and Valley took advantage of the absences early in the game. The Rams showed multiple looks on defense early in the game, including a brief box-and-one.
The Bulldogs slowed Valley down from the pace the Rams ran with in many other scrimmages this summer by playing man-to-man defense for much of the first half. Every time the Rams made a run to cut into LaFayette’s lead, Bulldogs senior Manny Moore seemingly came up with a big basket.
“He’s going to be a very important piece for our team this year,” LaFayette boys assistant coach Jeremy Ricks said.
Valley junior Jacquez Trammell missed a putback dunk that left the crowd buzzing for the next minute with 13 minutes left in the game. Trammell then hit a three-pointer to give the Rams some momentum with 6 minutes remaining before Bulldogs senior Corey Boston came back down the court and made a three-pointer of his own. The field goal was the first of three consecutive long-distance makes for Boston to give LaFayette a seven-point lead with 3:33 to go.
Moore then tied the game at 61 with a wide open layup after making a backdoor cut with 19 seconds remaining. With five seconds to go, Trammell made the game-winning layup to give Valley the 63-61 victory.
“[Valley] kind of pressed us,” Ricks said of the end of the game. “When we pressed them back, one guy didn’t drop for us, and they got an open layup to close the game out.”
LaFayette’s short-handed roster stayed on the floor to face Lanett. The Panthers followed the same rotation that they’ve used so far this summer of subbing in the reserves through the midway point of the first half while the Bulldogs took the lead before halftime. However, in the second half, Lanett’s physical play caught up to LaFayette, and the Panthers took the lead in the final minutes of the second half. Lanett won the game 65-59.
“[Bulldogs senior guard] Matavais Burton hurt his shoulder, so that took him out of the game for a little while,” Ricks said. “I’m satisfied with the guy’s effort because with not having five, six or seven of our boys and they still pushed through back-to-back games? I’m still proud of them.”
Valley then returned from a lunch break to defeat Smiths Station 60-30 to wrap up the day.
Many local teams are also expected to play in Lanett’s play date on June 20 with the first game beginning at 11 a.m. EDT.