Desperate times called for an inspired measure Saturday.
Having blown a 34-24 halftime lead to trail early in the fourth quarter, Coach Judie Mason switched Danville to a box-and-one defense.
The move sparked the Admirals to a 71-55 victory in the semifinals of the Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic.
"We've never run a box-and-one since I've been at Danville and something just came to me and said 'run a box-and-one,' to be honest," Mason said. "We've not worked on it, we've not talked about it."
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
Danville (13-4) finished the game on a 17-0 run, the last 12 coming at the foul line, and advanced to Sunday's title game against Glasgow. Finals in the Frankfort Convention Center are set for noon.
Danville built its 10-point halftime lead with speed and pressure, led by Essence Grey with 14 of her 23 points.
The Thoroughbreds (19-3) got loose in the third quarter by going inside to Miss Basketball finalist Nicole Kiernan, tying the score at 47.
A 6-2 start to the fourth quarter put NewCath on top 53-49, which is about when Mason changed defenses in an effort to contain Kiernan.
"When we're behind, we're fighters," Mason said. "We know we're the shortest team here. We know that we're not the most skilled, we're not the most athletic. So we've got to fight for every single play."
NeNe Chenault, giving up six inches, drew the task of chasing the 5-foot-10 Kiernan.
"Stay in front of her so I could refuse to let her get the ball," Chenault said.
Danville got a three-pointer by Chenault and two free throws by Grey to lead 54-53.
Loren Zimmerman's two free throws with 4:42 left gave the lead back to NewCath, but the Thoroughbreds would not score again.
"They just hit a couple big shots down the stretch," Coach George Stoll said. "They're real quick. We had a hard time keeping them in front of us. So hats off to them. They outplayed us."
Chenault hit another trey to put Danville in the lead and Laken Grey's put-back made it 59-55.
A combination of poor shooting and turnovers kept NewCath off the board, while Danville cashed in on 12 of 16 free throws down the stretch.
Alyvia Walker scored 16 points for Danville. Cameron McPherson had 13 points and nine rebounds, Chenault scored 10, and Laken Grey had nine points and 10 boards.
Kiernan led NewCath with 16 points and 17 rebounds. Stephanie Lewis tallied 14 points.
Danville finished with big edges in three-pointers, making 7 of 12 to NewCath's 2 of 9, and at the foul line with 26 of 35 to the 'Breds' 9 of 12.
"We won that game with heart," Mason said. "That team's better than us. Probably if we play them 10 times, they beat us nine-and-a-half, so I'm so proud of these young ladies."
Glasgow 54, Owensboro Catholic 39: Twin towers Shalika Smith and Bree Glover combined for 28 points, 23 rebounds and eight blocks as the Lady Scotties eliminated the defending champions.
Smith, 6-1, totaled 17 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, while the 5-11 Glover had 11, 13 and four, plus four assists and four steals. Elli Bartley chipped in 10 points.
Owensboro Catholic (20-3) got 17 points and 11 rebounds from Kaylyn Pearson.
The Aces shot mostly blanks, though, going 7 of 33 from the field in the second half to finish at 26.4 percent (14 of 53) overall.
Glasgow was clinging to a 35-32 lead early in the fourth quarter before a 6-0 run got the Scotties rolling.
"They extended their defense a little bit, and we're pretty good in transition," Glasgow Coach Justin Stinson said. "I thought we played with a lot of poise down the stretch and we were able to ... stay in attack mode, and we got in transition."
"Those two big girls, Bree and Smith, they're hard to contain," Aces Coach Michael Robertson said. "They took over at the end, and that was the difference in the ball game."
Danville 71, Newport central Catholic 55
DANVILLE (13-4) — McPherson 13, Chenault 10, A. Walker 16, E. Grey 23, L. Grey 9. Totals 19-48 26-35 71.
NEWPORT CENTRAL CATHOLIC (19-3) — Davenport 4, Ware 4, Lewis 14, Kiernan 16, Mayes 5, Zimmerman 9, Neace 3. Totals 22-59 9-12 55.
Danville 10 24 13 24—71
Newport Central Catholic 13 11 23 8—55
Glasgow 54, Owensboro Catholic 39
OWENSBORO CATHOLIC (20-3) — Berry 6, Garvin 6, Pearson 17, Moore 4, Howard 2, Hayden 4. Totals 14-53 11-14 39.
GLASGOW (17-6) — Bartley 10, S.Smith 17, Glover 11, Depp 0, Alexander 6, A. Smith 4, Chapman 2, Holgate 2, Shirley 2. Totals 21-53 8-11 54.
Owensboro Catholic 13 6 11 9—39
Glasgow 14 9 11 20—54