RICHMOND — No "easy button" for staples Tuesday.
Madison Central relied on basketball staples — defense and rebounding — to claw out a 43-33 victory over Lexington Catholic.
The 12th-ranked Lady Indians scored the last 13 points to vault into the semifinals of the 11th Region Tournament in McBrayer Arena.
Central (27-4), the defending region champ, held Catholic scoreless over the last 5:38 and finished with a 44-25 advantage in rebounds.
"We only shot 30 percent (15-for-49), but it's like we tell our kids: If we'll defend and we'll rebound, we'll win games," Coach Robert Cooksey said.
The 25th-ranked Lady Knights, who lost to Central 45-43 last month, shot 25.6 percent (10-for-39).
Larryn Brooks led Central with 17 points. Kristen Congleton had 13 points and 16 rebounds. Ashton Feldhaus totaled seven points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
Chrystal Miller came up big off the bench, getting four points and eight rebounds.
Catholic (20-12) got 12 points from Octavia Wilson. Alex Botkin had seven points and nine rebounds.
"We were in this same position last year against Madison Central," Knights Coach Chelsea Chowning said. "I think our girls were really excited and ready for the challenge, so it's disappointing to come up short.
"We only scored three points in the fourth quarter and, in a game of this magnitude, that's not going to win many games. But we were still in it late. ... We were attacking the basket since we weren't shooting well from the outside, but we weren't able to get to the free-throw line, and that led to some runouts for them."
Central never trailed en route to a 22-19 halftime lead.
Catholic took its first lead, 30-29, on Botkin's bucket with 1:18 left in the third quarter.
Her free throw with 5:38 left in the fourth gave Catholic a 33-30 lead — and its last points of the night.
"We kind of took control of the game," said Brooks, a 5-foot-5 junior. "Our defense, we got a lot of steals. Chrystal Miller got the biggest steal. We really needed that to push us ahead."
Brooks converted on a fast break to cut the deficit to one.
Feldhaus scored on a put-back with four minutes left to put Central on top to say, 34-33.
Brooks drove through the lane and hit a flip shot.
Feldhaus blocked two shots in the last 2:15, and Brooks blocked another as the Lady Indians pulled away.
"Being long always helps," said Feldhaus, a 6-foot-2 junior.
Doubled on defense much of the time, Feldhaus let the game come to her.
"Rebounding was a big key for us, and defense," she said. "That was my job tonight: rebounding and defense."
LEXINGTON CATHOLIC (20-12) — Botkin 7, Johns 2, Walton 6, Rhule 2, Wilson 12, Blake 4. Totals 10-39 10-15 33.
MADISON CENTRAL (27-4) — Feldhaus 7, Congleton 13, A. Hinkle 2, Brooks 17, Miller 4. Totals 15-49 12-16 43.
Lexington Catholic 7 12 11 3—33
Madison Central 11 11 8 13—43