Laney girls, boys sweep Harlem to start new year

Laney girls, boys sweep Harlem to start new year

Laney’s Alteona Collier goes up for a shot during a game against Harlem on Friday night. [WYNSTON WILCOX/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Wynston Wilcox @wynstonw_

On Tuesday, the Laney girls basketball team had an 11-game win streak snapped with a one-point loss to Jones County.

Friday night, it defeated Harlem 86-44 in region play to open the new calendar year.

Laney coach Otis Smart said getting this win was big not just to bounce back, but also to get some momentum ahead of a tough stretch.

While it was a lopsided win, the Wildcats needed a game like this with Jefferson County, Butler and Josey, respectively, coming up next week. Three more wins and Laney is sitting comfortable ahead of hosting the region tournament.

“We’re trying to knock out these three victories here, they are important to us,” Smart said. “Those are three very important games.”

Smart said that 11-game win streak was big for his team as well. When the Wildcats (12-2) opened the season with a 64-61 loss to Grovetown, they responded with 11 consecutive wins.

During that span, Smart said his team learned to buy into the program. The Laney girls team has had a lot of success and it wants to uphold that standard this year.

“I got the talent to do it,” Smart said. “I’ve got to get them molded into respecting what we are doing. … We’re getting to that point where we are buying into what we are doing. So I’m looking for great things out of this team.”

Alteona Collier led all scorers with 20 points. She was one five Laney scorers to reach double digits. Keona Darby had 10, Janiya Wilson had 11, Whitney Anderson had 14 and Rocquana Drayton had 13.

On the boys side, Laney got its second consecutive win defeating Harlem 66-36.

It was a game where the Wildcats were able to use their transition offense and depth to dominate the Bulldogs.

“We needed that to start the year off correctly,” coach Shawn Parks said. “The good thing is all of the guys were able to get touches and get involved in the game and that was important to us.”

After Harlem built a small lead in the first quarter, the Wildcats (9-4, 6-2) rattled off 15 unanswered points to build a double-digit lead and never surrendered it.

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