Pennington wins battle of sharpshooters as he lifts Lafayette over Borgia

2012-01-23T21:30:00Z 2012-01-23T23:02:30Z Pennington wins battle of sharpshooters as he lifts Lafayette over BorgiaBy Greg Uptain |
January 23, 2012 9:30 pm  • 

TOWN AND COUNTRY • Bryce Dolan came into Monday's game leading the area in 3-pointers, but it was Joel Pennington who ended up stealing the long distance show.

Pennington sank six 3-pointers en route to a game-high 20 points to lead the Lafayette Lancers to a 53-31 victory over Dolan's Borgia Knights in an Ameritime Classic first-round game at Missouri Baptist University's Petty Sports and Recreation Center.

"Bryce is a great player. We played on the same AAU team (Gateway)," Pennington said. "I just wanted to come out and try to play against him to the best of my abilities."

The win was the fourth in the last five games for the Lancers (10-5), who were coming off a disappointing 53-51 loss Thursday at Holt.

"We needed that one," Lafayette coach Scott Allen said. "We had a rough outing last week at Wentzville and needed to bounce back, so I was proud of our guys."

The sixth-seeded Lancers advance to take on No. 2 seed Hazelwood Central (12-4) in an 8:30 p.m. semifinal Wednesday.

"We're looking forward to the challenge on Wednesday," Allen said. "You play in this tournament, you're gonna get tested. If you want to get yourself ready for districts and beyond, this is a good tournament to be in."

Ranked fourth among small-schools, Borgia (16-3) was held to its lowest point total of the season. The third-seeded Knights will play No. 7 seed Parkway Central (11-6) in a 5:30 p.m. consolation semifinal Wednesday.

"We were just out of sync and never really got in the flow of anything offensively," Borgia coach Dave Neier said. "They played very well and had a great plan on defense."

Neither team scored a point for the game's first two minutes until Borgia's Jacob Martin knocked down a short jumper for two of his team-high 10 points.

Down four points, Lafayette finished the first quarter on an 8-0 run to lead 11-7. The capper of that run was a 22-foot bomb by Pennington at the buzzer.

"It was only a 3-point shot, but it felt almost like a 6-pointer," Allen said. "Anytime you can end a quarter on something like that, get a little momentum and carry it on through, that's a good thing."

The Lancers continued the run to the tune of 9-4 to assume a 20-11 lead just under three minutes into the second quarter.

Dolan finally got on the board with a long 3-pointer with 3:15 to play before halftime for his only field goal of the game.

The senior sharpshooter came in averaging 17.1 points per game on the strength of an area-high 62 3-pointers. He also hit two free throws in the second quarter to account for all five of his points in the game -- 12 below his season average. The key seemed to be a fresh rotation of Lafayette defenders assigned to Dolan as the game progressed.

"We played a little junk defense," Allen said. "We've got a lot of respect for him and know that their offense goes through him, so we did our best to try and take him out of it and see if somebody else could beat us. Our kids executed really well."

Pennington turned his same trick at the halftime buzzer, knocking down a long shot from almost the exact spot of his first quarter buzzer beater to give Lafayette a 25-16 lead. The only difference was this one wasn't as rushed and didn't come with a hand in his face.

"That one was a little more open," Pennington said. "I got my feet set, I was in rhythm and I knocked it down."

That nine-point margin would seem close compared to eight minutes later when Lafayette, on the strength of a 16-4 third quarter advantage, held a commanding 41-20 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The stanza was capped by yet another buzzer beater by Lafayette, as Nate Messer stole a pass from Dolan and went three-quarters of the court unabated for a layup as the horn sounded.

"At the end of every quarter, it seemed like they were getting a basket while we were having a turnover and should have had the last shot," Neier said. "All those things add up to a pretty miserable game for us, that's for sure."

In another Ameritime Classic first-round game. ...

HAZELWOOD CENTRAL 70, PARKWAY CENTRAL 62 (OT) • Marcus Lampley led three Hawks in double figures, as they blew an 11-point halftime lead before rebounding to win their eighth straight game.

Jordan Martin scored 14 points and B.J. McLaughlin added 12 more for Hazelwood Central, ranked ninth among large-schools.

Zach Biggs had a game-high 24 points for Parkway Central, while Joe Esstman scored 16 points and Zach Carel added 13.

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