Mar 02, 2024

Lafayette falls short at Chillicothe in district title, ends best season in recent memory

Posted Mar 02, 2024 4:20 AM
Emery Omon (13) led Lafayette with 10 points Friday in a 51-37 loss at Chillicothe in the Class 4 District 16 championship at Chillicothe High School. Photo by Tommy Rezac.
Emery Omon (13) led Lafayette with 10 points Friday in a 51-37 loss at Chillicothe in the Class 4 District 16 championship at Chillicothe High School. Photo by Tommy Rezac.


St. Joseph Post

CHILLICOTHE - When Lafayette welcomed No. 3 Chillicothe to the North Side on February 13, the Irish took the Hornets to overtime in a tight loss.

Given how Friday's Class 4 District 16 championship game started, it appeared that Lafayette and Chillicothe were headed down a similar road.

With the game tied 20-20 at halftime, Chillicothe outscored Lafayette 15-7 in the third quarter, held the Irish to just four made field goals in the second half and the Hornets pulled away for a 51-37 victory on Friday night in the district title at Chillicothe High School.

The game was as close as it could be for the first three quarters, as neither team led by more than a single possession in the first half. There were 10 lead changes and seven ties in all.

Chillicothe's defense was stout, especially late, turning Lafayette over 17 times unofficially.

Lafayette (19-7) had its struggles at the free throw line, connecting on 9-of-18 attempts from the stripe. Chillicothe (25-1), which hasn't lost to a team from Missouri yet this season, also took away the Irish's top scorer Talicia Byrd, holding the sharp shooter to just five points in her final varsity game.

Freshman Emery Omon led the Irish with 10 points. Senior Honor Wilkerson-Mannings scored eight, while Tia Nance had six. 

Senior and William Jewell commit Jolie Bonderer led the Hornets with a game-high 21 points. Junior Elizabeth Oliver had 11.

The Hornets were a sound 12-of-18 at the foul line, including 6-of-10 in the fourth quarter, as Chillicothe won its first district title since 2020 and its 18th straight game.

For Lafayette, a team that bids adieu to seniors Byrd, Mannings and Destiny McDonald, the future is undoubtedly bright.

"Those senior girls have meant everything to me," Lafayette head coach Ryan Madison said. "To be able to help them get a nice season to go out on. They were here when it wasn't great and got to leave when it was pretty good again. So, thrilled for them."

The Irish finished with 19 wins, the most they've had in a season in at least 15 years, and it was Lafayette's first appearance in a district title game since 2017.

Lafayette also had to navigate without starting center and freshman Laniya Carriger for the last four games.

But, with Carriger, Nance, Oman and a cast of others set to come back, Madison is upbeat when he thinks about what could be next, seeing as he helped the Irish increase their win total from 10 to 19 in just one year.

"I'm so proud of all of the things they did this year," said Madison, concluding the first season of his second stint at Lafayette.

"(Chillicothe) is an awfully talented team there. On a night where we needed to be as good as we've been all season defensively, we just weren't. Last time we played them, we had (Carriger) standing in the middle. We didn't have that tonight. That hurt us a little."

"I'm still proud as heck of what we could accomplish this year. They made me love this game again and reinvigorated me. I'm so happy for them."

Tia Nance (35).
Tia Nance (35).
Honor Wilkerson-Mannings (24).
Honor Wilkerson-Mannings (24).
Jolie Bonderer (10) and Talicia Byrd (30).
Jolie Bonderer (10) and Talicia Byrd (30).

You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.