Sometimes teams need to lose in order to learn how to win.
After falling in the Class 1A semifinals to Madison Prep last season, Lafayette Christian returns to the Boys Top 28 State Tournament as it defeated White Castle 82-45 Friday, giving them two straight quarterfinal wins over WCHS.
Third-seeded Lafayette Christian will play second-seeded Arcadia in a 1A semifinal at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday at Burton Coliseum.
And LCA coach Byron Starks said his team’s losing experience last season has fueled the Knights fire to break through and play for a state championship.
“Only when you learn from those experiences and truly value them is when you can advance to the championship game and hopefully win the championship game,” Starks said.
Most people focus on the obvious things that lead teams to championships: shooting, dunking or highlight-worthy blocks.
But Starks said his team learned all the small things it takes to become champions.
“When you’ve been through it, you understand the small things that it takes,” Starks said.
“Eliminating distractions, Staying focused on your assignments and being there for your teammates. All the other stuff will fall into place.”
Juniors Jacob and Kalob Ledoux set the tone for the Knights’ season during the summer, assuming a greater leadership role and flourishing as players under Starks.
Starks said the two didn’t waste anytime in preparing, getting in the gym soon after the semifinal loss to improve.
“In their minds this is what they worked for all summer long,” Starks said. “As soon as the season was over, they went to work improving their games to get back to this point.”
The Ledouxs have been the Knights go-to scorers throughout the season, leading LCA through an undefeated district season.
Their confidence and unflappable demeanor is something Starks said every team has to have to be successful.
“Every team has to have a go-to guy, the one who is a solid rock, the one who is still confident even when times get rough,” Starks said.
“With (the Ledoux twins) it’s good because we have two of them.”
Even with two district championships and last year’s trip to the semifinals, the Ledouxs aren’t satisfied with the Knights’ success.
“The maturity of being there and having success has helped them,” Starks said. “They’ve won two district titles, been to the semifinals twice, but even with the experience that they have they want more.”
“(Friday) they told me, ‘We’ve got a district championship and been to the semifinals, it’s time to get past that.’ They are on a mission.”