By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
The Lafayette boys' basketball team hadn't lost in the month of February until Thursday, when the Irish fell at No. 4 Platte County 86-72.
For Camden Bennett and the rest of the team, that loss didn't sit well.
"We really felt bad about Thursday's game," Bennett said. "We came into this game wanting to prove something. To prove we're still Lafayette, we're still that team. We came into the game, and just tried to play our hearts out."
Lafayette, and Bishop LeBlond, did just that. The Eagles (14-8) hit eight second half three-pointers, but it wasn't enough in a 61-55 loss to the Irish at Bishop LeBlond High School on Friday night.
Down 25-21 at half, LeBlond came out firing in the third quarter. Senior Isaac Ferguson hit a pair of triples, while juniors Chris Guldan and Marcos Dominguez hit threes of their own.
In all, LeBlond hit 10 threes Friday, while Lafayette had only two.
Lafayette (15-7) seemed to answer the bell each time with transition layups and jumpers. The Irish never lost the lead in the second half, but the performance left something to be desired for head coach Kevin Bristol.
"I'd give us a C," he said, when asked about the team's overall performance. "Defensively, we weren't clicking tonight. LeBlond is a much improved team from previous years. I think Coach (Mitch) Girres does a great job with them. But, we just weren't clicking on defense tonight."
Offensively, Lafayette did do enough, hitting 13 field goals in the second half, including a three-pointer from both Bennett and senior Zach Langley.
Bennett, while ending up with a game-high 24 points, shared Coach Bristol's sentiment. There's room for improvement.
"I feel like we could have played better," Bennett said, "but overall, it was a good team win."
Bennett led three Lafayette players in double figures. Langley cashed in 11 points. Senior Try'Shon Page finished with 10, including four points in the fourth quarter.
The opening couple minutes of the final quarter looked like LeBlond's prime time to grab a lead. Senior and future Missouri Western golfer Jeffrey Johnston buried a three, which was part of a 5-0 run to pull the Eagles to within 45-42 less than two minutes into the final period.
But Langley, Page and Bennett all came up with transition layups to maintain the Lafayette lead, and eventually, the Irish were up 60-50 with just over a minute left.
"LeBlond is a very good team," Bennett said. "It was very tough, having them hit threes and going back and forth, but I feel like we played our game."
Lafayette is off until Tuesday, when they go on the road to face Chillicothe (12-6) in another critical Midland Empire Conference tilt.
With districts on the horizon in two weeks, Bristol knows that any win right now is a big help.
"Every loss and every win can help a team," he said. "It gives you that marker on where you're at. I think everyone in the MEC, (LeBlond) plays close. They're a good team. Everyone has multiple games under their belts, so, we're going to get everybody's best."
LeBlond visits St. Pius X (7-15) on Tuesday.
Lafayette 61 - 14, 11, 20, 16
Bishop LeBlond 55 - 10, 11, 16, 18
Lafayette scorers - Camden Bennett - 24, Zach Langley - 12, Try'Shon Page - 10, Jamar James - 8, Drake Davison - 6, Mikey Thomas - 1.
LeBlond scorers - Jake Korell - 14, Jeffrey Johnston - 11, Chris Guldan - 9, Isaac Ferguson - 7, Hayden Cross - 4, Landon Gardner - 4, Marcos Dominguez - 3, Noah Eidmann - 3.
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