Lafayette holds off Parkway Central in Ameritime Classic
By: Jonathan Duncan
It was probably not the championship game that the Lafayette Lancers had in mind when the week started but, after falling into the consolation bracket on Monday night, Coach Scott Allen and his club got a positive finish to their week at Missouri Baptist University.
Seventh-seeded Lafayette led by five point in the first quarter, eight points at the half and then held on in the final moments for a 53-49 victory over fourth-seeded Parkway Central in the Ameritime Classic Tournament Consolation Championship game.
Lafayette (8-10) got big nights from junior guard Adam Witzig and senior guard Nate Messer as Witzig pumped in 14 points and Messer added 13 points.
Both teams came out tight early as shots were contested and defense was intense on both ends.
A Garrett Steins putback and a three-ball from Witzig pushed Lafayette to an 8-3 lead with 2:07 left in the first quarter.
Parkway Central (8-9) pulled within two at 17-15 on a Jarrett Cox-
Bradley jumper with just over three minutes left in the opening half.
But the Lancers answered with a 9-2 run by a pair of Shacquille Holley baskets.
That surge catapulted Lafayette to a 26-18 haftime cushion.
Central pulled within 34-31 on a an Andrew Chekadonov layup with 2:24 left in the third stanza.
As Parkway Central big man Nathan Biggs battled foul trouble, Chekadonov stepped up big for the Colts with 15 points.
Buckets from Witzig and Steins kept Lafayette on top with a 38-34 edge heading into the fourth quarter.
Lafayette opened the fourth quarter with a 7-2 run keyed by a Witzig three-pointer and a pair Evan Scales free-throws, pushing the Lancers to a 45-36 margin with 5:51 left.
The Colts turned up their defensive pressure and forced the Lancers to the foul line in the final two minutes as Chekadonov, Biggs, and Nick Helmbacher, started to click.
Biggs dropped in a layin cutting it to 51-44 with 1:11 left. Chekadonov hit a free-throw and then Helmbacher scored a stickback basket with 35.3 left to cut it to 51-47.
Scales hit two free-throws in the final 24 seconds making it 53-47 as Cox-Bradley’s baseline jumper at the buzzer was too little too late for the Colts.
Cox-Bradley finished with 10 points.