Rachel Blake celebrated her 17th birthday like a winner Tuesday night.
Blake scored 13 points, all in the second half, to lead Lexington Catholic to a 52-47 come-from-behind victory over visiting Henry Clay in a girls' high school basketball season opener.
Bailey Browning added 11 points for the Lady Knights, who had trailed by as many as 10 points.
"We had a lot of adversity; we had a lot of foul trouble," Lexington Catholic Coach Scott True said. "Rachel was in foul trouble all night long. ... We could have laid down tonight. We didn't."
Henry Clay, which got eight points from Destiny Carter and seven from Kerrigan Davis, led for much of the game.
Up 27-20 at halftime, the Lady Blue Devils opened a 31-21 gap when Carter scored off a fast break.
Blake, limited to less than four minutes of play in the first half because of two quick fouls, ignited Lexington Catholic's rally with back-to-back three-pointers.
That was the start of a 21-11 run that would tie the game at 42.
"They were up in us and we were a little frazzled, but we had to get back," said Blake, who also led Catholic with six rebounds. "I just shot the shot. Wasn't really sure it was going to go in or not."
As things began to come together for the Lady Knights, Henry Clay saw its lead slip and slip some more.
"It really got away from us in the third quarter," Devils Coach Eric Sanford said. "Rachel Blake hit two long three-pointers and that got their momentum going. But we're not going to beat anyone shooting 32 percent (19-for-58) from the field. They forced more turnovers than us, and we kind of let it slip away by putting them on the line."
Lexington Catholic feasted at the free-throw line, sinking 24 of 37 attempts to Henry Clay's 6-for-13. That helped offset the Devils' 41-29 advantage in rebounds, 16 of which were snagged by Hannah Young.
And there was this: "We played solid defense," Blake said. "We really didn't let them penetrate that much, and we contested all their shots from the second half on."
Henry Clay reclaimed the lead, 44-42, on Kamari Boyd's bucket with 3:40 left, but the Lady Knights answered with six points in a row — two free throws and a basket by Blake, plus a pair of free throws by Hannah Gadberry — to lead 48-44 with 2:22 left.
The Devils got a Boyd free throw and a basket by T'laya Lyvers to pull to within 48-47.
However, Catholic scored the final four points of the night at the free-throw line to seal the win.
A combination of zone defenses kept Henry Clay from penetrating much.
"I kept telling my girls to attack, attack, and we just settled for jump shots, which is what they wanted," Sanford said. "They got a couple transition buckets out of it or we fouled them, and that's how they were able to get back into the game and eventually take the lead."
True also was happy with the way his team got tough on the backboards when it mattered most.
"They've very athletic and long. I knew we'd have trouble getting them off the boards, and we did," True said. "But we really buckled down, middle of the third quarter on, and took care of the boards, and that was the difference."
Lex. Catholic 52, Henry Clay 47
HENRY CLAY (0-1) — Boyd 5, Young 6, Conley 4, Lyvers 3, Carter 8, Davis 7, Kavanaugh 5, Joyce 4, Richmond 5. Totals 19-58 6-13 47.
LEXINGTON CATHOLIC (1-0) — Blake 13, Lynch 8, Gadberry 6, Browning 11, Miller 4, Osbourn 3, Bonn 2, Cornett 5. Totals 12-33 24-37 52.
Henry Clay 18 9 12 8 — 47
Lexington Catholic 12 8 13 19 — 52
Three-point goals—Henry Clay 3-12 (Carter 1-3, Davis 1-4, Kavanaugh 1-3, Richmond 0-2); Lexington Catholic 4-12 (Blake 2-3, Browning 1-3, Miller 1-4, Osbourn 0-2).
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.