Eagles overcome nerves, Generals

Early in the second half, confident drives to the basket were replaced by nervous glances at the clock.

Coach Jason Seamands worried that if No. 2 Lexington Christian wasn't careful, it would be caught watching the seconds tick down on its season in the semifinals of the Girls' 43rd District Tournament.

"It was like we were just waiting for that second half to be over instead of enjoying being out there and competing," Seamands said. "We kind of clock-watched a bit."

No. 20 Lafayette used a big run to start the second half and make a game of it.

But the 2007 state champions responded to win 57-41 and advance to Friday's championship game at Paul Dunbar. The Eagles will face the winner of the Bulldogs and Lexington Catholic.

LCA clinched a spot in the 11th Region Tournament next week, but it wasn't always clear that the Eagles would be making that return trip.

"We were playing not to lose instead of playing our game and playing to win," junior Sarah Beth Barnette said. "We had no flow."

LCA (25-4), which has won 11 consecutive games, had plenty of flow in the first half when it used a 20-4 run to grab a 22-8 advantage.

Senior Courtney Clifton had 10 points in the spree, including two three-pointers. The Western Kentucky signee had 13 points at the half and a game-high 22 for the Eagles.

Barnette, a Kentucky commitment, had 21 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.

"Sarah Beth played tremendous," Seamands said. "If she got an open look, she nailed it tonight. She got rebounds, good drives to the basket."

The Generals (20-9) struggled in the first quarter, missing nine of their 11 shots, but they regained their composure at the start of the second half. They used a 16-7 run out of the locker room to cut it to six points late in the third quarter.

"Lafayette Generals don't know how to quit," Coach Allison Denton said. "As long as I'm coach, they won't ever quit."

Clifton responded with five straight points in a 7-0 LCA run that made it 45-32.

Then the Eagles' defense held the Generals nearly four minutes without a field goal during an 11-0 fourth-quarter run.

"When they made that run it was almost all on transition points," said Denton, whose team will return five of its top seven players next season. "You can't take a play off when you play a team like that."


LAFAYETTE (20-9) — Ross 2-12 2-2 7; Hanatani 1-3 0-0 2; Jam. Gillespie 1-4 1-2 4; Hack 7-22 0-2 16; J. Walker 2-4 0-0 4; Jar. Gillespie 0-1 2-2 2; M. Walker 2-3 2-3 6. 15-49 7-11 41.

LEXINGTON CHRISTIAN (25-4) — Martin 3-12 0-0 7; Barnette 10-13 0-0 21; Clifton 9-17 1-1 22; Cox 0-1 0-0 0; Dorton 2-3 0-0 4; Jacob 1-2 1-2 3; Mitchuson 0-1 0-0 0. 25-49 2-3 57.

Lafayette 6 10 18 7—41

Lexington Christian 13 18 14 12—57