Foul trouble, aggressive defense from Ringgold, and perhaps a little fatigue from playing back-to-back road games this early in the season, all seemed like it was conspiring against the LaFayette Ramblers in the first half of Friday's Region 6-AAA game inside David Moss Gymnasium.
However, when the second half began, the Orange-and-Black showed why they're one of the top teams in all of Class AAA.
Up by just a single point at intermission, the fourth-ranked Ramblers opened the third quarter on a 14-2 run and ran away from the homestanding Tigers in the second half to score a 64-40 victory and run their record to 4-0 overall (3-0 in 6-AAA).
LaFayette was up 12-6 with just over three minutes to play in the opening quarter when 6-foot-7 DeCameron Porter went to the bench with his second foul. Their lead had been trimmed to 17-13 when Aidan Hadaway, LaFayette's other 6-7 forward, joined him on the pine after being whistled for his second foul and the Ramblers spent the rest of the half trying to find an offensive rhythm and trying to fight off the Tigers, who used a final 6-0 run to sprint to the locker room, trailing by just one, 24-23.
But as quickly as Ringgold cut into LaFayette's lead in the latter stages of the second quarter, the Ramblers opened things back up just as quickly once the third quarter began.
Hadaway scored the first five points of the half and a twisting shot in the paint resulted in a 3-point play for Porter. Later, following a timeout, Zach Barrett ripped a trey and LaFayette's lead had suddenly ballooned to 38-25 midway through the period.
Porter had a 3-pointer of his own later in the quarter and two final free throws by the Ramblers' lone senior gave him 13 points in the period and put LaFayette comfortably in front, 48-32, with eight minutes to play.
Porter delivered a transition bucket with 4:45 remaining to increase LaFayette's lead to 21 and he followed up with an emphatic blocked shot at the other end that brought an eruption from the LaFayette fans. He added one more big block down the stretch and Hadaway punctuated the victory with a big-time baseline slam with just over two minutes to go.
Porter ended the night with 25 points and Hadaway had 17 after each were limited to just four points apiece in the first two quarters. Barrett put up eight points, followed by Junior Barber with seven, Jaylon Ramsey with five and Jordan Kennerly with two.
Daniel Fow led the Tigers (0-5, 0-4) with nine points. Gage Long and Jayden Williams each finished with seven points, while Jordan Wideman and O'Reilly Matthews both put up six. Alex Otting and Cooper Sexton dropped in two apiece with Brevin Massengale adding one.
The Ramblers will travel to Sonoraville for another region tilt on Tuesday, while the Tigers and Lady Tigers will play tomorrow at Northwest Whitfield, starting at 3 p.m.
Due to COVID issues, the LaFayette girls were unable to play on Friday. That game is scheduled to be made up Feb. 6 back at Ringgold.