After fast start, West Holmes has to hang on to beat Hoover

By KEVIN LYNCH Staff Writer Published:

BERLIN -- Instead of waiting for some second-half heroics, West Holmes came out hitting on all cylinders and destroyed the Hoover Vikings right from the start in Game 19 at Classic in the Country Challenge Monday at the Perry Reese Jr. Community Center.

And while the Knights may have gone into victory mode too soon, their lead was big enough to hang on for a 56-51 victory over the Vikings.

"We won," West Holmes coach Lisa Patterson said. "Two-and-a-half minutes left, up 14, you think they ought to handle that."

The Knights led 54-33 with four minutes remaining in the fourth after Brittleigh Macaulay scored her second straight bucket. The freshman finished with six points, as the Knights displayed their depth with eight different players scoring.

The Knights jumped out to a 19-6 lead in the first quarter on a pair of steals and layups by Justice Wright, who came off the bench to provide a spark.

West Holmes displayed its balance as six different players scored. Mallori Vess got things rolling with a bucket inside, followed by a Paiten Strother jumper. Emily Molnar scored and Laina Snyder hit inside. Strother stroked a triple for an 11-4 lead.

The score was 21-8 after the first quarter and things only got better in the second period, as Rachelle Morrison scored from deep. Vess dropped a trey on the Vikings to ignite a 10-0 run and give the Knights a 32-13 lead late in the first half. It was 36-18 at intermission.

Snyder scored inside early in the third quarter, the 1,000th point of her career. She finished with 10 for the game to go with six rebounds.

"It was kind of embarrassing, really, in front of all these people," the humble junior said.

"She is the seventh person all-time at West Holmes to score 1,000 points," said Patterson. "It's an honor for her, but I'm glad it's behind her. Laina's not a person who focuses on things individually."

West Holmes led 43-27 after three as Strother drilled another 3-pointer and Macaulay scored inside.

"They are so fundamental. And they are so efficient

offensively," Hoover coach Abbey Allerding said. "They exposed us on defense. This was a great opportunity to play against a great team. We've got a lot to work on."

Morrison led the Knights' attack with 11, and Strother finished with nine. Julie Worley led the Vikings with 17. Kelsey Lensman and Kelsey Peare added 12.

It was an exciting weekend overall for West Holmes, winning two games at the Classic.

"We didn't come out here to win two games. We came out here to get better," Patterson said. "To come out still with a zero in the loss column says something about these kids. We played a great second half Saturday and a great first half today. I can't wait to see four quarters."

Wright left with mixed emotions. The senior was happy to leave Hiland with two wins in her final season, but she was also somber because it was her last game at the Perry Reese Jr. Center.

"I feel a little sad because I like the atmosphere here," Wright said. "But, it's always good to leave with a win."

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