LAFAYETTE — Lafayette Christian coach Byron Starks admitted he was sweating with two minutes to go against Hamilton Christian on Friday night.
LCA led by eight with two minutes to go and for the first time in a long while, the starters were still on the court late in the game.
Kalob LeDoux took over the final two minutes, scoring the Knights’ final 13 points and 36 overall as LCA earned its third consecutive trip to the Boys Top 28 tournament after a hard-fought 75-54 win.
“It has been a good while since our guys played some extended minutes,” Starks said. “Give credit to Hamilton Christian. They hit some big shots. We kept them in the game a little too long, and our backs were against the wall a little too long.”
HCA coach Dexter Washington credited his team with making LCA earn every point they got.
“My kids are going to play hard no matter if they’re playing LCA or the Lakers,” Washington said. “That schedule we had early where we lost 11 games, this is what it was for. I think it showed tonight that we belong up there. We could have folded, but we never did.”
HCA’s Keelan Blackwell hit four 3-pointers and led the Warriors with 17 points. Washington said if he could have hit a few more, the game’s outcome may have been different.
“We scored more than I anticipated,” Washington said. “We hit some big shots. If Keelan hit two or three more or those shots, this could have been a lot different. They started to get nervous over there and they made some uncharacteristic turnovers.”
Starks said the turnovers came from being impatient and not finding the right people in the right situations.
“Some of those shots generally will go down,” Starks said. “We took a couple ill-advised shots, and we need to be a little more patient. We play at a fast pace. The kids love it and it’s been good for us, but we still need to do a better job taking good shots and get it in the hands of the players that can make the shots.”
Starks said he was relieved to leave Friday with a win and was glad his team went through a game like this leading into the Top 28.
“You always want to go in challenged,” he said. “Those other teams have been battled in their district. We needed this test, and I was glad we withstood the punches and overcame.”