Paul Laurence Dunbar ended Lexington Catholic’s season with a 72-57 decision in the 43rd District girls’ basketball tournament’s semifinal round Tuesday night at Lexington Christian Academy.
Cheyenne Fullwood had a career-high 21 points, scoring eight of Dunbar’s first 10 points of the game as it jumped out to a 10-1 lead. Mashayla Cecil, the all-time leading scorer in Fayette County history and a Miss Basketball finalist, finished with 14 points and seven assists.
“I can’t say enough about one of our junior veterans,” Dunbar Coach Nick Runyon said of Fullwood’s night. “Cheyenne came out on fire and set the tone right at the very beginning. … We always consistently have her guard the other team’s best player and for her to go out and have that kind of offensive performance while exerting that kind of energy on defense like that, it’s just a testament to her will and desire.”
Fullwood finished 9-for-10 from the field and 3-for-3 from behind the three-point arc.
“I knew they would play really good defense on Shay, so I knew I had to step up and get more buckets so we could get this dub so we could go to the championship on Friday,” Fullwood said.
Elise Ellison-Coons, a freshman, scored 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs in both categories. Through the regular season she averaged a double-double, 11.9 points and 10.1 rebounds.
“Elise does what she does, and right now what she’s really good at is scoring in the post, rebounding and playing good defense,” Runyon said. “As soon as we get her consistently making 15- to 17-footers, she’s gonna be pretty hard to guard.”
Runyon called Ellison-Coons a “sponge” when it comes to absorbing basketball knowledge.
“We just keep encouraging her,” Fullwood said. “We know she’s just a freshman and she’s gonna make freshman mistakes, but we know how hard can play and how well she can play.”
Jay Ballard, a junior, had a game-high 26 points on 8-for-14 shooting — including a 4-for-8 mark from behind the arc — to lead Lexington Catholic. The Knights pulled to within a few possessions in the fourth quarter after trailing by 20 points in the second half.
“He’s not gonna go down without a fight,” Runyon said of Catholic Coach Scott True. “… He did a good job of keeping it close. He’s a great basketball coach, and a better person to be honest.”
Paul Laurence Dunbar 72, Lexington Catholic 57
Lexington Catholic (16-13)— Maya Jazdewski 4, Maylo Given 14, Ashley Frebis 2, Jay Ballard 26, Aerial West 4, Katie Witt 5, Catey Nash 2.
Paul Laurence Dunbar (20-9) — Elise Ellison-Coons 22, Cheyenne Fullwood 21, Peyton Humphreys 7, Anaiyah Cotton 8, Mashayla Cecil 14.
Paul Laurence Dunbar