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Lafayette girls uses strong second quarter to advance to district championship for first time since 2017

Feb. 28—Classes 4-6 continue their journeys to try and punch their tickets to the state tournament, and on Wednesday the Lafayette and Benton girls faced each other for the second time this season, as Lafayette was able to defeat the Lady Cardinals on Feb. 6 with a 48-43 victory.

It was the semifinals round for Class 4 District 16 out at Chillicothe High School, and the two-seeded Fighting Irish were able to advance to the championship in a 61-47 victory over three-seeded Benton Lady Cardinals.

The contest began with a back-and-forth battle to open the gates. The quarter was a majority of both teams feeling each other out, as they traded buckets to end the quarter in a 14-14 tie, a false foreshadowing of what was to come.

As the second quarter rolled around, the Fighting Irish had enough feeling their opponent out, as they began the quarter on a 14-0 run. They would only need roughly four minutes to propel themselves to that 28-14 lead.

An abundance of the scoring from the first half for Lafayette came from beyond the arc, hitting six 3-pointers in the first half, with four of those coming in that second quarter.

The Lady Cardinals, who have been to the Final Four every year since 2020, used that experience and calmness to bring themselves back within eight points at 48-40 in the fourth quarter, but were unable to get any closer than that.

For the Irish, Honor Mannings led Lafayette with 19 points. Junior Tia Nance had nine. For Benton, Junior Andrea Simmons led with 16 points, with Junior Emma Loehnig finishing 13.

For the first time since 2017, Lafayette will play for a district championship against the host school and 1-seeded Chillicothe.

Calvin Silvers can be reached at calvin.silvers@newspressnow.com.