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Whatever hopes Loganville’s boys might have had about containing Lambert’s scoring attack vanished in the 10th minute Tuesday, when Bakawsu Kinteh made a shot most players wouldn’t even attempt.
Kinteh, who was standing at about the 10-yard mark but angled more than 25 yards away from the goal near the right sideline, launched a sharp-angled kick that rocketed past goalkeeper Andy Brock’s diving attempt and into the left corner of the net to give Lambert a 1-0 lead. Seventeen minutes later, the junior striker completed a hat trick, as the No. 1-ranked Longhorns throttled Loganville 7-1 in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs at The Horn.
Earlier in the night, Lambert’s girls crushed Winder-Barrow 7-0.
Kinteh finished with four goals, adding to the program’s single-season scoring record that he set late in the season. Lambert coach Chris Wilson said Kinteh’s opening goal dealt a demoralizing blow to Loganville.
“It breaks their backs,” Wilson said.
“Up to that point they’re playing well — we really haven’t gotten in behind them — and then he shoots from that far out from that angle. It was a great goal but, from a player, who, [now has] his 36th goal of the season in 19 games.”
Despite the distance and difficult angle, Kinteh said the kick was by no means a shot in the dark.
“I felt confident that it was going to go in,” he said.
Kinteh later took a pass from Trexler Bennett and scored his second goal on a breakaway in the 19th minute to put Lambert (19-0) ahead 2-0. Just over six minutes later, Kinteh completed his hat trick by streaking in from the left side and finishing from five yards out.
Cooper Coughlin added a goal on a free kick with under 12 minutes remaining in the half, giving Lambert a 4-0 lead going into the break. Coughlin finished with two goals and two assists.
“We’re trying to figure out who’s the player of the match between the two of them,” Wilson said of Kinteh and Coughlin.
The two added their final goals early in the second half, giving the Longhorns a 6-0 lead and the opportunity to get playing time for the team’s reserves.
“That’s very valuable at this point of the year,” Wilson said, “being able to have some depth and get some experience.”
Chris Rigel finally put Loganville (9-8-2), the Region 8-AAAA No. 4 seed, on the scoreboard with 2:29 remaining, before Daniel Keenan tacked on Lambert’s final goal with 27.5 seconds to play.
The Longhorns have allowed only seven goals in 19 games this season.
“That’s where the pride comes in for a defensive player, so going for that next shutout is always the thing,” Wilson said.
“Giving that goal up, it’s [a question of], ‘Why did that happen; we can’t let that happen.’
“I know those guys will be disappointed. Not me, I don’t need to be.”
Lambert will host Richmond Hill (15-3) in the second round of the playoffs on May 8.
Lambert (girls) 7, Winder-Barrow 0
After watching the No. 5-ranked Lambert girls shut out Class AAAAA No. 2 Peachtree Ridge last week, Winder-Barrow coach Ben Arms knew his team was up against a tough defense in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
Lambert turned in another dominant defensive effort Tuesday night against Arms’ squad and finally had a breakout game on offense, cruising to an opening round victory over the Lady Bulldoggs at The Horn. The win marked the 14th shutout of the season for the Lady Longhorns (14-3-2) and the fifth in their last six games.
“I thought [Lambert] dominated a very good Peachtree Ridge team,” Arms said. “I knew our work was cut out for us.”
Lambert may have dominated Peachtree Ridge defensively in the regular season finale, but the game ended in a scoreless tie. Coming into Tuesday’s game against Winder-Barrow (13-6), the Lady Longhorns had scored only two goals in their last four games.
But No. 2 seed Lambert’s scoring slump came to a decisive end against the No. 3 seed Lady Bulldoggs with the help of a first-half hat trick from junior Heather Lacy.
Lacy began the scoring in the ninth minute of the contest, sending a shot from the right side of the field — just over 10 yards out — that zipped past Winder-Barrow goalkeeper Ashley Hagenbaugh and inside the bottom of the left post. Lacy scored again in the 15th minute, this time on a 25-yard free kick from the middle of the field.
Three minutes later, Jordan Harman scored with a close-range shot to the left side of the net to increase the lead to 3-0.
In the 20th minute, Margaret Corry followed an unsuccessful breakaway attempt with a pass from the left side and into the box, allowing Lacy to complete her hat trick and give the Horns a 4-0 lead at the half.
“It was good to see us get consistently back on the board today,” Lambert head coach Scott Luthart said. “The distribution was there, the communication was there and the point-of-attack was there. That’s all stuff that is going to help us going into next week.”
The Lady Longhorns continued to press against Winder-Barrow in the second half. Lacy placed a pass in front of the net in the 49th minute, allowing Tatum Richey to slide and send the ball in the middle of the net.
Alicia Bostic and Maria Amendola tacked on the final two goals for Lambert.
The Lady Longhorns move on to face the winner of the Northside (Warner Robbins)-Greenbrier match May 9. The loss finished the season for the Lady Bulldoggs, who reached the state playoffs for the third consecutive season.