Winning ugly is thing of beauty for Lafayette

Most basketball coaches are perfectionists.

Even when their teams win, they still find reasons to complain and criticize.

Lafayette boys' coach Damon Kelley used to be one of those nit-pickers, but his perspective has changed since his Generals lost their last 11 games last season and their first seven this season.

That's why after Lafayette rallied to beat short-handed Covington Catholic 55-51 Friday night, Kelley wasn't looking for flaws in his team's fifth win in its last six outings.

"We're having to learn how to win basketball games again after what we went through last year and the first part of this year," Kelley said.

"So when we win one like this, even though it's obvious there's a whole lot we need to improve on, it's easier to see the positives than it was a few years ago."

Lafayette saved its best for last against CovCath.

The Generals went on a 14-2 run to start the fourth quarter and turned a 41-32 deficit into a 46-43 lead.

After Luke Maile's back-to-back baskets put CovCath ahead again, Lafayette took the lead for good on Dee Yarbrough's layup with three minutes left.

A fast-break basket by Mike Walker, a three-pointer by Tanner Napier and two free throws by Napier sealed the victory.

Yarbrough, a sophomore, led the Generals with 15 points, 10 in the fourth quarter. Napier, also a sophomore, had 14 points. Walker, a junior, added 11 points.

"A few years ago the kids we had knew they were good enough to win," Kelley said. "The young kids we have now have to see they're good enough to win. I know they are, but they've got to see some evidence of it, and they're starting to see it now.

"Winning is important for their confidence and psyche as much as anything else."

CovCath Coach Mike Listerman's psyche could use a bandage as his team has lost eight of 11 games.

The Colonels have been ravaged by all sorts of illnesses.

His top two point guards, Mitch Shover and Max Pauly, played a total of five minutes against Lafayette. Starting center Zach Isler stayed home sick. Stephen Wilson, who started in his place, was also ailing. Jordan Counts, a reserve, dressed but didn't play because he was under the weather.

"I'm just hoping for the day we finally get healthy," Listerman said. "All coaches have to be doctors and psychologists, but I've had to be a nutritionist and therapist, too.

"It's been unbelievable. Never in all my 35 years as an assistant or head coach, never have I gone through anything to this extent."

At least Luke Maile is healthy. The 6-foot-3 senior, who has signed to play baseball at the University of Kentucky, is a force on the basketball court, too. He had 29 points and seven rebounds to keep CovCath in contention.

Lafayette 55, Covington Catholic 51

COVINGTON CATHOLIC (3-8) — Maile 14-20 1-2 29. Wilson 2-3 0-0 4, Wellbrock 2-6 0-4 4, Thelen 2-6 0-0 4, Ives 3-9 0-0 8, Mashinot 1-3 0-0 2, Shover 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-48 1-6 51.

LAFAYETTE (5-8) — Robert 3-5 1-1 7, Yarbrough 6-9 0-2 15, Miller 1-5 0-0 2, Napier 5-13 2-2 14, Lawless 1-3 0-0 2, Barber 2-4 0-1 4, Walker 3-12 5-6 11, Davis 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 21-53 8-12 55.

CovCath 16 14 11 10—51

Lafayette 9 10 13 23—55