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Lexington Catholic's early run enough to hold off Lafayette girls

Lexington Catholic saved its worst for last, but luckily for the Knights they had a big enough lead to hold off a late Lafayette charge at the end.

"We were fortunate we had that lead going into the fourth quarter because we played pretty poorly down the stretch," said Chelsea Chowning, who earned her first coaching victory, 62-51 in the Friday night matchup.

The teachable moments were all over the Lafayette court, leaving both coaches glad it's only the first week of basketball.

No. 22 Catholic looked to be in control after three quarters. An Octavia Wilson shot from well beyond half court swished quietly through the net to cap a 9-0 rally for Catholic, which held a 52-38 lead at the end of the third.

It looked like the Knights' game to win, but the Generals had other ideas.

They held Catholic without a point for the first five minutes and 30 seconds of the final quarter while forcing the Knights to turn the ball over on nine straight possessions.

"They showed a lot of tenacity pursuing loose balls and rebounds in the second half, and it put us back on our heels," Chowning said of Lafayette, which forced 25 Catholic miscues.

"If it was a closer game going into the fourth quarter, we would have lost."

But the Generals couldn't capitalize enough to make it interesting, missing several key shots from close range.

They shot just 22.5 percent (9-for-40) in the second half, leaving Coach Allison Denton frustrated.

"If we had made those easy shots in the paint, it wouldn't have been close," Denton said.

She was proud of the effort and hustle — which included 25 offensive rebounds to just nine for Catholic — but was frustrated with the outcome.

"My girls continued to fight — they will always fight until the very end — but the bottom line is we have to make shots," Denton said.

Early foul trouble helped put the Generals at an early disadvantage. They had three starters get three quick fouls.

Catholic used a 15-1 run to help it grab a 24-10 lead after one quarter. In that spree, the Knights had five different players score for them.

"That start was really important for us," said Alex Botkin, who paced Catholic with 13 points and 17 rebounds. "Coach talks about starting off intense because we want to leave an impression."

The Generals responded with a mini 10-2 rally early in the second quarter to pull within six points, but the Knights responded and held a 37-24 lead at the break. Kendra Shaw led the way with 10 points and finished with 12.

Octavia Wilson added 13 points for the Knights, who shot 42.6 percent from the field.

Shomari Kendrick, a 6-foot-3 transfer, spent most of the first half on the Lafayette bench in foul trouble, but she tried to make up for it in the third quarter, scoring seven straight for the Generals, who cut the Knights' lead to five points 43-38 late in the third quarter before Catholic scored nine unanswered.

Emily Justice led the way for the Generals (0-2) with 14 points, 11 rebounds and five steals. Jariana Gillespie added 13 points, seven rebounds and a game-high six steals.

LEXINGTON CATHOLIC (1-1) — Botkin 3-10 7-8 13, Johns 4-5 0-0 8, Walton 2-4 3-5 7, Cawood 2-6 1-2 7, Wilson 3-10 6-7 13, Shaw 5-11 1-2 12, Blake 1-1 0-0 2 . Totals 20-47 18-24 62.

LAFAYETTE (0-2) — Graham 1-7 0-0 2, Justice 4-15 6-8 14, Kendrick 4-8 3-4 11, Stiltner 0-3 0-0 0, Gillespie 5-22 3-6 13, Mynear 1-4 2-2 5, Cooley 1-2 2-4 4, Martin 1-5 0-0 2. Totals 17-66 16-24 51

Lexington Catholic 24 13 15 10—62

Lafayette 10 14 14 13—51