Lafayette’s girls cruised past Lexington Catholic, 52-35, punching their fifth straight ticket to the 43rd District finals and the 11th Region tournament Tuesday evening at Lexington Catholic.
Juniors Tekiya Garr-Carter and Caroline Bennett combined for 37 of the Generals’ 52 points. Lafayette will meet either Paul Laurence Dunbar (1-1 in their regular-season meetings) or Lexington Catholic (2-0 this season) in the finals; those teams meet in the other semifinal on Wednesday.
Lafayette won the 43rd District title the previous four seasons, counting on senior Kiara Pankins to carry a big scoring load in the last three championship runs. Pankins, who suffered a concussion at Woodford County on Feb. 1, has missed seven straight games, and her status is uncertain for Friday’s finals.
Garr-Carter stepped up in a big way, scoring 19 points – about 15 more than her average on the season. Lafayette Coach Allison Denton said Garr-Carter relishes tournament action and takes her game to another level when the games really start mattering. Her scoring Tuesday matched her typical defensive intensity.
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“She’s just an active member of our team,” Denton said. “She creates so much for us because she is quick and can react so quickly. We’ve moved her on the back line for our press because she can move to provide a cover for us.”
Garr-Carter and Bennett (who finished with 18) are part of a six-deep junior class at Lafayette, while Pankins is the team’s only senior. This stretch has given Denton a glimpse of what her team will look like next season, and she likes the early returns.
“I’m just proud that they’ve stepped up to the challenge. Kiara’s such a vital role in our team,” Denton said. “You’ve got 15 points and 11 rebounds sitting on the bench. I’m just proud that the girls have figured out how to play without her. We’re hoping for the best coming Friday.”
Maylo Given, a sophomore, led Lexington Catholic with 16 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Girls’ semifinal: Lafayette 52, Lexington Catholic 35
LexCath (12-16) — Haines 3, Witt 3, Weldon 2, Ballard 11, Given 16.
Lafayette (21-9) — DeBilzan 3, Bennett 18, Pankins 1, Goff 7, Garr-Carter 19, Abram 4.