High School Sports

Determined Catholic Cougar girls hold off South Meck Sabres, 54-42

rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

The 49-32 defeat to the South Mecklenburg Sabres on the road in December was in the forefront of the minds of the Charlotte Catholic Cougars girls basketball team Tuesday night. Revenge was the plan, and revenge was secured on its home floor in the rematch.

Catholic outscored the Sabres 16-1 in the second quarter for a 32-16 halftime lead, and that margin was too much for South Meck to overcome in the Cougars’ 54-42 victory. Krystal Mainsah led Catholic with 15 points and Carrie Eberle scored 13 for the Cougars.

“I thought the second quarter really made the difference,” said Catholic coach Robert Conrad. “We did a lot of good things in the first quarter, but I thought our defense really stepped up in the second to be able to hold them to one point. That’s a high-powered offense and they score a lot of points, so that was huge for us.”

Despite trailing by double digits, South Meck kept at it and got to within 7 points with 2:19 left in the fourth quarter. But the Cougars stayed poised down the stretch making key free throws, and that was as close as the Sabres would get. Aja Stevens was the Sabres’ leading scorer with 15, while A’lea Gilbert had 14 for South Meck.

“We took care of the ball and handled the pressure better than we did the first time we played them,” said Eberle. “We came out ready to play today and we had an edge on our shoulders from last game. I think that helped and we really played well as a team today.”

Three who mattered

Krystal Mainsah: Catholic junior guard had 11 first-half points and 15 points for the game for a team high and tie for a game high with South Meck’s.

Ali Fitch: South Meck senior guard had 12 points, all in the second half, while eclipsing the 1,000-point mark for her career.

Carrie Eberle: Cougars senior 6-0 forward had 13 rebounds and two blocks to go along with her 13 points.

They said it

“I thought today was a big start and was one of our better all-around games. If we play like that, and we play with that kind of balance, and if we play with that kind of intensity, then we’ll be in a very good place moving forward.” Catholic coach Robert Conrad on how his team is playing with the playoffs right around the corner.

Worth mentioning

The Charlotte Catholic boys stayed unbeaten (21-0) with a 67-51 victory over South Meck. Four Cougars, Sam Smith, Jack Larkin, Xander Gagnon and Justin Mckinstry, all led Catholic in scoring with 13 points each. Bo Blight led the Sabres with 17 points while Jason Blakeney added 11 for South Meck.

Records: South Meck girls (12-6, 7-3), South Meck boys (10-9, 6-5)

Catholic girls (14-7, 8-3), Catholic boys (21-0, 11-0)

What’s next: The South Meck girls and boys will host Olympic this Friday at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., while Catholic will host West Mecklenburg Friday at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

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