Fayette County

Defense does it for Lady Eagles

Two of the top three teams in the state clashed Tuesday night, and each team might have had its ugliest offensive performance of the season.

The other top team made sure of it.

But unlike in their last meeting, No. 3 Lexington Christian was able to find a way to get stops and topple visiting No. 2 Montgomery County 43-42.

"Once our shots weren't falling and things weren't going our way, we knew we had to lock them up defensively, and that's what we did," LCA senior Anna Martin said.

It was something the Eagles failed to do when the two teams met in late December.

In that game, the Eagles had an eight-point lead heading into the fourth quarter before Montgomery sliced through the defense time and again and won out 59-55.

"We've come a long way defensively," Eagles Coach Jason Seamands said. "Tonight we kept getting stops, stops, stops."

The loss snapped a 12-game win streak for Montgomery County (18-2).

The 42 points were the second-worst offensive output for the Indians, who were held to 24.1 percent shooting for the game, including 17.9 percent in the second half. They also turned the ball over 24 times against LCA's pressure and zone defense.

"We hadn't seen a whole lot of zone this year," Coach Janie Robinson said. "It's something we weren't really prepared for. You just don't see much of that three-two (zone), and they've made that a tradition here."

Martin's made free throw with 51 seconds remaining would prove to be the game-winner. Two more times the Eagles had a chance to put the game out of reach with free throws, and two more times they missed the front end of one-and-ones.

LCA (21-4), a team that shoots nearly 80 percent for the season from the charity stripe, made two of six in the final two minutes.

"We usually don't miss free throws, but it happens," Western Kentucky signee Courtney Clifton said. "But none of us dropped our heads. It really showed how we've improved as a team."

One of the Indians' top players, Mackenzie Lee, fouled out with 15 seconds remaining, leaving Katie Jo Thompson to launch the potential game-winning three-pointer from just past the arc with three seconds remaining.

Thompson's shot rimmed out, and Sarah Beth Barnette grabbed the rebound to seal the Eagles' win. Barnette, a UK commitment, had seven points, 15 rebounds, seven blocked shots and four steals for LCA.

Martin, who has signed with DePaul, led the Eagles with 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots. Clifton added 13 points, including 10 in the first half.

The win was Lexington Christian's seventh straight. It has won 16 of its last 17.

Robinson wasn't disappointed with her team's defensive effort either.

The Indians held LCA to 34 percent shooting and 20 percent from three-point range. The teams were nearly even on the boards.

"That was the best defensive game we've had," Robinson said. "I don't know that we could go back and do anything better defensively. Offensively, it's a different story."

LEX. CHRISTIAN 43, montgomery co. 42

MONTGOMERY CO. (18-2) — Lee 10, Prewitt 7, Webb 5, Garland 8, Jehlik 6, Colliver 6.

LEXINGTON CHRISTIAN (21-4) — Martin 17, Barnette 7, Clifton 13, Dorton 6, Cox 0.

Montgomery Co. 15 11 6 10—42

Lexington Christian 11 18 3 11—43