LAFAYETTE — When Barbe stepped up its transition game, the Lafayette High Mighty Lions lost ground.

Barbe broke open a 15-11 halftime spread by scoring 21 points in the third period as part of a 58-44 Bucs’ victory Tuesday night at Lafayette High.

“We wanted to eliminate their second shots, and I thought our rebounding and defense in the first half wasn’t bad,” Lafayette coach Clifton Brown said. “But our transition defense was horrific in the third quarter.”

The Bucs gradually built a 36-25 lead by the end of the third quarter thanks to fast breaks coming out of halftime.

“Our rebounds off their misses in the third quarter helped open it up,” Barbe coach Carl Klein said. “Brian (Smith) anticipated well (defensively) and got out in the passing lanes.

Smith finished with a game-high 28 points for Barbe, who also received seven points from Steve Henderson in the second half to help widen the Bucs’ lead.

Henderson started the final period with a 17-footer, a pair of free throws and another face-up jumper to make the score 42-28 with 6:34 remaining. Jalen Dalcourt responded with one of his five 3-pointers to pull the Lions within 10 points at 44-34. However, a dunk by Smith at the 3:32 mark kept the Barbe advantage at 12 at 50-38.

“We went to a big lineup with Steve (Henderson), and we were able to get a high-low action going on offense with our bigs,” Klein said. “That helps open things up inside when Steve can make those perimeter jump shots.”

The Lions trailed by 16 a couple of times in the final few minutes before Jeremiah Jason accounted for the final basket on a driving layup with 40 seconds remaining.

The faster pace in the second half was a switch from the opening 16 minutes that saw Barbe take an 11-5 lead before the Lions limited the Bucs to four points in the second period.

“We did get a little fatigued in the second half, and our defensive transition was bad in that stretch,” Brown said.

Dalcourt finished with 17 points to pace the Lions, who dropped to 8-10 and 1-2 in District 3-5A. Keyshawn Young chipped in eight points for the Lions.

“We were trying to get primary and secondary breaks (offensively) because we haven’t executed our offense well at times with a young group of guys.”