After leading at the first two quarter breaks, Louisville Holy Cross found itself in an uncomfortable situation.
Raceland’s Micah Leslie had buried two 3-pointers to open the second half and Holy Cross, which had led 16-5 after the first quarter and 22-14 at halftime, saw its lead dwindle to two points.
The Lady Cougars knew what they had to do.
“We had to go back to the press, speed the game up,” said Holy Cross coach Fred Copass, whose team defeated Raceland 48-35 in the first round of the Kentucky Touchstone Energy All “A” Classic Wednesday at the Frankfort Convention Center.
“We had to get some steals and quit playing at their pace.”
Raceland, the 16th Region champion, didn’t get closer than two points in the second half.
After Leslie’s 3-pointers pulled the Lady Rams within two at 22-20, Holy Cross went on a 9-3 run to lead 31-23 at the end of the third quarter.
“We got close a couple times,” Raceland coach Bob Trimble said. “We had a couple of opportunities to score, but we didn’t finish running our sets.”
Holy Cross’ Sydney Morabito hit a 3 to open the fourth quarter, putting the Lady Cougars ahead by 11 points, and Raceland never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
“We went to a half-court trap,” Copass said, “to get some steals and speed the game up. It’s more to speed the game up than to get steals.”
The Lady Cougars’ strategy did both.
They forced 23 turnovers, 12 in the second half, and had 11 steals. After hitting 31 percent in the first half, Holy Cross shot 47.6 percent in the second.
Raceland also did a better job shooting in the second half, improving from 31 percent to 47 percent.
Holy Cross, the 6th Region champion, was led by Morabito with 17 points and six rebounds. Maya Hardin had four assists and three steals, and Kim Mingus also had three steals.
Raceland (13-7) has five eighth-graders on its roster, including Leslie, who led the team with 15 points. Brooke Gee had a game-high 10 rebounds for the Lady Rams.
“They’re a good team,” Trimble said. “We kept fighting back, but when we had a chance to get close we shot ourselves in the foot.
“I’m proud of my kids. They played hard.”
Holy Cross (18-3) plays Bishop Brossart Friday at 10 a.m. in the quarterfinals.
Green County 60, Lexington Christian 44
The first game of the morning session was close for a half, but 5th Region champion Green County used a strong third quarter to pull away for the victory.
The Lady Dragons (16-5) took an 11-7 lead after the first quarter and went ahead 29-23 at halftime.
Lexington Christian, the 11th Region champion, was outscored 16-7 in the third quarter and fell behind 45-30.
Micah Jones poured in 32 points for Green County, and she had seven rebounds and four steals. Kali Hedgespeth had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Katelin Bundy led Lexington Christian (9-14) with 24 points, and Kristen Jacob and Kristin Rinehart both had 10 rebounds.
Green County will play Newport Central Catholic Friday morning at 8:30 in the quarterfinals.
Newport Central Catholic 69, Owsley County 32
The Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds jumped out to an early lead and never looked back Wednesday.
Champions of the 9th Region, the Thoroughbreds scored 26 points in the first quarter and led 26-10 when the period ended.
At halftime Newport Central Catholic led 42-22, and NCC held the Lady Owls to 10 points in the second half.
The Thoroughbreds (12-4) shot 45.6 percent from the field. They outrebounded Owsley County 42-33 and forced 22 turnovers.
Nicole Kierman had a double-double for NCC with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Aubrey Muench had six assists and four steals, and Jamie Kohls had 14 points.
Peyton Wright led Owsley County (13-7), the 14th Region champion, with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Newport Central Catholic plays Green County at 8:30 Friday morning in the quarterfinals.
Bishop Brossart 54, Harlan 31
Harlan led by 10 points at halftime then went cold in the second half as Bishop Brossart rallied for the win in the final game of the first session.
Champions of the 13th Region, the Lady Dragons held Bishop Brossart to single digits in both of the first two quarters, leading 11-7 after the first and 21-11 at halftime.
Bishop Brossart, the 10th Region champion, returned the favor in the second half.
The Lady Stangs, after shooting 16 percent in the first half, improved to 54.2 percent in the second.
Sarah Futscher led Bishop Brossart (18-3) with 19 points and eight rebounds, and Madison Eisenman had 10 points and five steals. The Lady Stangs forced Harlan into committing 31 turnovers.
Harlan’s shooting dipped from 45.4 percent in the first half to 19 percent in the second half.
The Lady Dragons (15-7) were led by Ashley Mullins with 16 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots.