Another season, another state championship.
On Saturday afternoon, Lafayette Christian School won its second state title in the last three months. The Cougars started the ball rolling with the state football championship in a 41-30 victory against the Central Christian Crusaders on November 27, 2015 in Lithia Springs.
And last weekend at Barnesville’s Gordon State College, Lafayette Christian captured the boys basketball state crown with a 60-53 come-from-behind triumph over the North Georgia Christian Chargers from Flowery Branch.
Lafayette Christian knows how to play the game whether it’s basketball or football. The Cougars are competitive in the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association.
“We have some talented athletes (at LCS),” said Cougars senior center Marcus Mobley.
North Georgia Christian has some basketball giants of its own. The Chargers had the state title game tied up seven times. North Georgia Christian also led in the opening minute of the fourth stanza before the Cougars put the hammer down and won yet another state championship in Division II in the GICAA.
“We didn’t panic. Everything was on the line, and we always find a way (to win),” said Mobley.
The Cougars did just finish off an undefeated season with a 22-0 record. The state championship also came along with that for Mobley, and Cougars senior forward Sam Marshall and the rest of the Lafayette Christian basketball squad.
The Cougars made their own championship memories with a Jemi Reed three-pointer to conclude the first quarter and Gregory Benefield’s handiwork at the free throw line in the second period. Benefield, the Lafayette Christian junior guard, buried three foul shots with 1:31 left in the first half. That gave the Cougars a 26-24 advantage.
But after a three-pointer from North Georgia senior forward Davis Martin with 6:17 left in the third quarter the Chargers had a 34-28 lead. The game did not get away from Lafayette Christian, however. The Cougars rallied behind senior guard Antaveis Sands and Mobley.
“We knew this would be tough, but we kept our composure,” said Lafayette Christian Assistant Coach Rene Gomez.
Every basket mattered on the championship stage, including a layup from Cougars junior guard Jonathan Parham. That deadlocked the game at 38-38 with 2:43 left in the third period. The game was tied again at 40-40 after a Parham putback in the final seconds of the third quarter.
Lafayette Christian survived. The Cougars made several runs in the fourth period, and they won the first basketball state championship in Lafayette Christian history.
“This was an adrenaline rush. There were a lot of momentum (shifts). We stayed confident, and we moved the ball,” said Reed, who now has a basketball and a football state title with the Cougars.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer