By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
The last time Lafayette girls' basketball beat Benton, Ryan Madison was the head coach. It was February 2017. He left Lafayette the following year.
Now, in Madison's first season back in the North Side, the Irish (15-5) scored a 48-43 win over the Cardinals at Springer Gymnasium on Tuesday night.
Lafayette assistant coach, Tray Byrd, was a junior for the Irish the last time they beat their South Side rivals.
Her younger sister, Talicia, helped break that streak on Tuesday.
"It had been a long time (since we beat Benton)," coach Madison said. "(Benton) has been the standard in the city and the state, really. They've been Final Four bound several years. They have a great group with great players."
Benton had beaten Lafayette not only in eight consecutive meetings, but also in the jamboree at the MWSU Fieldhouse this past November, 19-18, on a buzzer beater.
"The kids had kind of circled this (game) as a chance to come down here and get a big win," Madison added.
Benton (12-8) had the slight edge early, leading 10-8 at the end of the first quarter, 20-19 at halftime and 29-28 at the start of the fourth.
Lafayette, however, grabbed a 33-29 lead early in the final quarter, and outscored the Cardinals 19-11 over the final eight minutes.
Freshmen center Laniya Carriger had seven of her nine points in the fourth quarter. She also blocked several shots from Benton's Andrea Simmons.
Another Lafayette freshman, Emery Omon, scored 10 points - all in the second half.
Benton, who's gone 3-4 in their last seven games, was held to just three made field goals in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals also missed six free throws in the fourth as well.
"We kept getting stops," Madison said. "I told them, if we can get a couple of those in a row and get someone to step up and make a play, then we've got a chance to win."
"Thrilled we were able to make enough stops and take care of the ball well enough and score enough points to get a huge win over a good Benton team."
Senior Talicia Byrd led Lafayette with 17 points - 15 of that from three-point land. The Irish have won five of their last six and have gone 3-0 against Midland Empire Conference teams so far.
Andrea Simmons and Eliana Arambula led Benton with 12 points each. Avery Morlock and Jalynn Brown each had eight.
Benton boys get off to hot start, outlast Lafayette for 11th straight win
Benton raced out to a 36-16 halftime lead against Lafayette behind a 24-point second quarter on Tuesday night.
Lafayette stayed the course, made some adjustments on defense, got good shots at the rim, and clawed their way back in, trailing only 46-39 with 6:26 to play.
Benton (16-5), however, got a couple of key buckets late from Mach Mayom and Lincoln Goodwin, and the Cardinals came away with a 65-49 win over the Irish in the South Side Tuesday night.
It's just the third win against Lafayette for Benton boys' basketball since 2007.
"I thought we got very, very stagnant in the third quarter," Benton head coach Jared Boone said, as the Cardinals made only two field goals in that period.
"It's something we definitely have to fix, but we were able to weather the storm. (Lafayette) went on a few runs, we answered when we could, we were able to weather the storm and close the game out with a run of our own."
Antonio Williams led the comeback for the Irish (10-9), as he scored 19 of his game-high 25 points in the second half. He got to the foul line often, making 9-of-11 attempts from the charity stripe.
Mayom, who had 11 points in the first half for Benton, was held scoreless in the third quarter, but came through with two big layups in the closing minutes.
Goodwin put things away for good with two corner three-pointers in the waning minutes as well. The sophomore sharp shooter led the Cardinals with 23 points. Mayom, the 6'9" forward, came off the bench and had 18.
Along with a strong supporting cast of Myles Bachali, Carson Schmidt, Zach Smith and Talan McDowell, the Cardinals have reeled off 11 straight wins - all since December 29.
Benton also sits at 4-0 in Midland Empire Conference play with games against Maryville, Savannah and Bishop LeBlond still out there.
"This dub is very special to us," Mayom said. "Everybody knows (Lafayette) beat Benton. We beat them once (in February 2022), but in the rivalry, they were ahead of us. So, getting this dub is very special to Benton."
"The halls were buzzing with excitement about coming to the games," Boone said, with Springer Gymnasium filled to the rafters Tuesday night. "That's what it's about. That South Side pride coming back and being restored. I appreciate it, the boys appreciate it and I know the school appreciates it."
Both Benton teams are at Maryville Friday. Both Lafayette teams stay in the city to visit Bishop LeBlond on Thursday.
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