Laurel trailed early for a second-straight region contest.
"We've been notorious for slow starts this year," said Laurel head coach Marcus Price. "Part of that is because we're trying to find our groups and rotation and go with the best guys on a given night."
After overcoming the slow start, Laurel defeated Region 5-5A and county rival West Jones 60-42 Friday night on the road. The Tornadoes improve to 10-6 overall and 1-1 in region play.
“It was a good win for us,” added Price. “We got contributions from all of our guys. We like to play a lot of guys. Our third group tonight gave us a big push and gave us a little bit of separation.”
Kiran Benjamin beat the first-period buzzer with a layup basket that tied the game at 14 apiece. Six lead changes followed in the second period before Laurel took control and built a substantial lead.
Markese Webb and Walter Barber combined for back-to-back buckets that started Laurel’s 12-3 run in the second period and sent both teams to the locker room with the Tornadoes up 30-22.
It was all Laurel in the second half, outscoring West Jones in both the third and fourth period en route to victory.
“We had a good practice earlier in the day,” said Price. “After playing bad against South Jones the other day, we challenged them to come out and play to the Tornado Standard that we’re accustomed to seeing.”
Kylin Dixon and Antwan Hatten led the way with double-digits. Dixon finished with 11 points, while Hatten had 10. Thirteen Tornadoes scored in the 18-point win.
"Dixon has been playing good ball for us," said Price. "He's a senior, and I challenged that group of seniors after last week. They had gotten demoted, but tonight they stepped up.
Dixon is going to play football at Pearl River as a linebacker, but he’s been playing well for us as our No. 2 guard.”
Junior forward Dylan Page led West Jones with 13 points, the most scored by anyone play in the game.
Laurel turns its focus to Brookhaven as the Tornadoes travel on the road next Tuesday night and finish the first cycle of Region 5-5A matchups.
"Brookhaven is a very tough place to play," Price said. "This is their first year being in our division, so we're not as familiar with them as we are with our other opponents.
"We'll come in and watch film on them and us and see if with can finish the first cycle in first place."