LaFayette Ramblers

LaFayette head coach Hank Peppers tried to downplay the importance of his team's 69-56 road win at Heritage on Tuesday night, but the smiles on his players' faces as they emerged from the visiting locker room post game spoke volumes on just how big of an early-season win it was.

The Ramblers entered new season tabbed as one of the favorites in Region 6-AAAA, along with Heritage and last year's region champion Northwest Whitfield. LaFayette dispatched the Bruins by double digits (63-52) on Dec. 1 and Tuesday's win put the Ramblers all alone in first place in the 6-AAAA standings.

"We're just taking it one game at a time because there a lot of good teams and anybody can beat anybody in our region," he said. "Once we leave the locker room doors, our focus is on our next opponent or the next practice and that's the type of focus you have to have to keep improving. Heritage is a really good team and I have a lot of respect for (head coach) Kevin Terry, but it was a good solid win for us and I'm proud of the guys."

LaFayette (4-0, 3-0) led 24-16 a minute-and-a-half into the second quarter, but the Generals (3-3, 1-1) would keep chipping away at the deficit. Spurred on by their student section, they finally pulled to within one, 31-30, in the closing seconds of the half.

But any momentum the Generals may have had got taken right back by LaFayette standout Alex Kelehear. The junior got the ball at the top of the key on an isolation play as the clock ticked down, faked out a defender with a spin move dribble and stepped back to bury a 3-pointer at the buzzer. The shot pushed the lead to four and sent the Ramblers' own student section into a frenzy.

The momentum swing remained with the Ramblers after the break. They scored the first nine points of the second half to push their lead back to double digits. Later in the period, Andrew Pendergrass drained 3-pointers on two consecutive possessions, while Vyshonn Daniel and Dee Southern added athletic offensive put-backs.

A 15-foot jumper by Kelehear with 5.6 ticks left in the third gave the Ramblers a 55-38 lead entering the fourth quarter and LaFayette would maintain the double-digit lead the rest of the night.

LaFayette, determined to make Heritage beat them from the perimeter, gave up 20 points inside to Heritage center Cole Wilcox and 16 to forward Adam Thacker. But LaFayette countered with 10 made 3-pointers, while holding the Generals to just four from behind the arc.

"You can't stop everything," Peppers said. "You just have to give it your best effort, get a hand up and try to get it done. Cole is as good of a post player as you'll find and they've got some shooters too, but we settled down, took it one play at a time and played a lot more level headed in the second half."

Pendergrass had a team-high 18 for LaFayette, while Kelehear and Jon Morgan added 15 each. Kelehear also had seven assists, while Morgan grabbed 11 rebounds. Southern had eight points and seven boards, while Daniel added eight points and seven assists.

"One thing that's underrated is chemistry," Peppers added. "I believe chemistry and culture trump talent and our guys really play well together. They really like each other and they really enjoy it when the next guy scores."

Luke Grant added 12 points for Heritage, while Will Allen finished with eight.

Heritage girls 75, LaFayette 24

The Lady Generals (4-2, 2-0) got three 3-pointers and 16 points from Sarah Bandy and four threes and 15 from Nicole Fine in the region win. Emily Wiley added 11 points, followed by Reagan Armour and Araina Camp with 10 apiece.

The Lady Generals (4-2, 2-0) got three 3-pointers and 16 points from Sarah Bandy and four threes and 15 from Nicole Fine in the region win. Emily Wiley added 11 points, followed by Reagan Armour and Araina Camp with 10 apiece.

S.J. Oxford lead the Lady Ramblers (0-5, 0-3) with eight points, followed by seven points and three steals from LaTyah Barber and five points and six boards from Deshia Dew.