Lady Crusaders get last run
Southern Lee rallied in the third quarter, but Grace Christian took over in the fourth quarter for a 43-32 win in a cross-city girls basketball contest Thursday evening at Cavalier Court.
The Lady Crusaders (4-0) made it two wins in the first two meetings of the series. The Lady Cavaliers (1-1) scored the last three points of the first half and the first 12 of the third quarter to take a 22-18 lead. The Cavs were trying to build on an opening-night win at Pinecrest from two nights earlier.
Grace Christian, looking to go one more step this season after being the NCISAA 1A state runner-up last season, went to a familiar strength - from beyond the three-point arc.
Starting the fourth period trailing 24-23, Anna Murr drained a three from deep on the right wing about a minute into the period. A couple of Crusader possessions later, Alexis Ross hit a triple from about the same spot giving Grace Christian a 31-24 lead.
The Lady Cavaliers fought back within three points before Karinda Farrant, a senior, but the new Lady Crusader point guard, scored with a drive down the lane and scoop shot. Moments later, Ross got a steal, fast break and lay-up for a 35-28 Grace lead.
From there, the Lady Crusaders held the ball well enough and got the ball to Murr when the Lady Cavaliers had to foul.
Murr, who became the Lady Cruasders' all-time leading scorer last season as a junior, finished with a game-high 18 points on two three-pointers and 12-for-12 free-throw shooting.
The Lady Crusaders jumped out to a 15-4 lead through one quarter. Farrant, the point guard offensively but the center for the Lady Crusader zone defense, stopped multiple Lady Cavalier drives to the hoop with blocked shots or physical play.
A steal and breakaway lay-up by Lady Cav guard Jasmine McIver brought the Lady Cavs within 18-10 at halftime.
After the halftime break, the Lady Cavs found success inside without the need of a fast break.
Rachel Wilson and Erin Pickens made driving, but mid-range, shots for the first four Lady Cav points of the second half. Center Makenzie Cicogna scored in the low post, then got a feed from Pickens on a roll to the hoop and put in the lay-up to tie it, 18-18, with just under four minutes left in the third.
A free throw by Pickens put Southern Lee ahead and a three-point play by Cicogna off an offensive board made it a 15-0 Lady Cavalier run and a 22-18 Lady Cav lead.
Cicogna scored 11 of her team-high 15 points in the second half. Pickens added 10 points.
For the Lady Crusaders, Ross, now a sophomore after already starring in Grace Christian's run last season, scored 14 points. Farrant had nine points.
Grace Christian heads into Carolina Christian Conference play Friday evening at Cape Fear Christian.
Southern Lee gets another tough pre-conference test with a trip to Northwood on Tuesday evening.