Lafayette's girls set a trap Tuesday, and Henry Clay fell right in.
In a game of runs, it was a 17-0 flurry by Lafayette that proved decisive in the fifth-rated Generals' 48-40 road win.
Sarah Cooley led Lafayette (9-1) with 16 points and seven rebounds. Ashanti Thomas totaled 10 points and 11 boards.
The Lady Generals jumped to a 9-0 lead, getting two buckets by Cooley, a three-pointer by Kiara Pankins and a basket by Thomas.
Henry Clay scored the last seven points of the half, though, to pull to within 21-20.
Then the Blue Devils went on to take a 27-23 lead early in the third quarter, when Kerrigan Davis drained a three-point shot.
That's when Lafayette delivered the knockout blow, though, running off the next 17 points.
"We're not used to being down usually because we always push the ball and get ahead in the early part of the game," Cooley said. "So we really just have to fight, and that's how we got our points back."
That plus a bit of strategy.
"We changed our defense. We went to a half-court trap and got a little spurt," Coach Allison Denton said. "That's all we did."
Dee Givens scored seven straight points in a 12-0 flurry to close the third quarter, and the Generals then scored the first five of the fourth quarter to take a 40-27 lead.
"They got a couple key turnovers, they trapped us in the half-court and, with their size, it's hard to get out of those traps. They're very long," Henry Clay Coach Eric Sanford said. "They kept turning us over and then they converted that into points."
Henry Clay scored the next nine points to pull to within 40-36, but came no closer.
T'laya Lyvers led the Blue Devils (4-9) with 15 points. Nakeisha Green was tops in rebounds with nine.
Henry Clay has lost three straight games and five of six.
The Devils outrebounded Lafayette 22-16 in the first half, but the Generals finished with a 38-37 edge.
"We usually don't get outrebounded," Cooley said. "That's what we said in the locker room at halftime — we have to get on the boards; we have to block them out. And I think we did that pretty well in the second half."
Lafayette also outshot the Devils from the field, 38.5 percent (15 of 39) to 22.2 percent (12 of 54).
"We turned them over enough times, but just couldn't convert the turnovers into points. That was our focus," Sanford said. "They're a very big, athletic team and a lot of their offensive rebounding got them to the line or they got put-backs from that. And that third quarter was the big separation, and we couldn't recover from that."
While Lafayette committed 21 turnovers to Henry Clay's 17, the Generals finished with a 16-13 advantage in points off turnovers.
"I think they persevered like they have all year," Denton said. "Things weren't flowing well. ... But they just kept going, and that's part of it.
"You tell them you've got a target on your back because you're ranked or whatever, and you're going to get everybody's 'A' game. And Henry Clay's a good team. They're scrappy, they're athletic and they're quick. And considering our flow wasn't there, I'm proud of them pulling the game out."
Lafayette 48, Henry Clay 40
LAFAYETTE (9-1) — Givens 9, Cooley 16, K. Demus 5, Thomas 10, Naagahiro 0, Pankins 8. Totals 15-39 16-26 48.
HENRY CLAY (4-9) — Richmond 3, Joyce 6, Davis 9, Young 0, Porter 0, Coney 1, Lyvers 15, Boyd 2, Green 4. Totals 12-54 15-19 40.
Lafayette 16 5 14 13—48
Henry Clay 10 10 7 13—40
Three-point goals — L 2-9 (Givens 0-2, Demus 1-4, Pankins 1-3); HC: 1-7 (Richmond 0-3, Coney 0-1, Lyvers 0-1, Davis 1-2).
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.