After a first round exit last season, the Lakeview Lady Gators were back in the playoffs, and this year, they have much bigger things than the first round on their minds. After working all season to earn the fourth seed in the 2A playoffs, they had their first matchup against 29-seed St. Helena. Due to the winter storm, the game was pushed back to Saturday, Feb. 20. The first basket came from St. Helena on a layup.
That heated the Lady Gators up; specifically the Fisher sisters. Jameisha and Janaiya scored the next 11 unanswered points. St. Helena finally answered with another layup. Lakeview countered when Janaiya hit a catch-and-shoot three off the first pass of the possession. St. Helena missed and Timberly Washington came down with the rebound and went coast to coast for the layup. St. Helena inbounded the ball from under the goal and hit a three from the corner. Washington threaded the needle on the next possession through the lane to find Saniyah Marshall for an easy layup. Washington scored with a layup. Janaiya finished the first quarter with back to back steals followed by layups. Lakeview led 24-7.
Washington started the second quarter with her second shot from long range. St. Helena got back on the board with an and-1 conversion, followed by a drive to the goal for a tough layup. Saniyah Marshall got her first second chance points of the game on the next possession after grabbing the offensive board. Jameisha Fisher made her second three then Janaiya scored six unanswered points with every bucket coming off of steals by her teammates. St. Helena scored five straight over the next few possessions.
Jameisha was bumped on a shot on the next play and converted her and-1 at the line. Her next bucket came at the halftime buzzer after she pulled up from about 30 feet to give the Lady Gators a 51-20 lead at halftime. The game was all but over from here. St. Helena was not given a chance to make a comeback. Lakeview walk away with the win, 72-43. Janaiya Fisher led her team in scoring with 25 points.
The real story was how well Lakeview played their ballgame. Lakeview is all about turning defense into offense, and in their first round matchup they had eight steals turned into scores, let alone how many steal they had that didn’t result in scores.