The West Laurens Raiders picked up a 73-59 victory over the Mary Persons Bulldogs in opening round action of the boys GHSA Region 2-AAAA tournament hosted by Rutland on Monday night.
In an attempt to stay away from a significant Raiders size advantage, the Bulldogs went to a perimeter game, putting up 37 3-point attempts. They even drew West Laurens into their style of contest. The two teams traded jump shot attempts for more than 11 minutes, and Mary Persons took a 22-19 lead three minutes into the second quarter.
Our identity is going inside out because we have the bigs, and we got away from that, West Laurens head coach O.J. Hall said. Early in the game, we just settled for entirely too many jump shots with the presence we have inside. Once we got into a rhythm and got into our game plan, thats when we started to thrive.
After a timeout, the Raiders promptly went inside for a 12-0 run that led to a seven-point halftime lead.
The Bulldogs tied the game early in the third quarter, but another big run by West Laurens, this time 11-0, gave the Raiders a lead they did not relinquish. The Raiders led by 15 at the end of the third quarter and by as many as 19 in the fourth.
Mary Persons guards Tra Taylor and Demarcus Davis scored the first 36 points of the game for the Bulldogs until Roger Akins finally joined them on the score sheet with 2:22 remaining in the third quarter. Taylor finished with a game-high 33.
West Laurens advances to face Rutland on Tuesday for the second time in just four days after the Raiders prevailed 78-65 at home on Saturday night. The Raiders will enjoy another significant size advantage over the Hurricanes, but Smith said that winning in a hostile gym with a playoff berth on the line will not be easy.
Its going to be very difficult, but my guys are up for the challenge, Hall said. Theyre going to bring everything theyve got for 32 minutes, and were going to leave it all on the floor. We have nothing but respect for (Rutland) because theyve earned it.
In the late boys game, Perry beat Howard 63-46. Perry was led by KJ Smith with 22, while Adrian Curry had 15 for Howard.