MINT HILL, NC – The Charlotte Catholic Lady Cougars defeated the Independence Patriots 51-40 to take complete control of first place in the conference competition. The first time the two teams squared off the Cougars won in a nail bitter 44-41 in the final seconds on the Patriots home court in December. However, this time around the Cougars clearly showed why they are undefeated in 4A Conference 59 this season. Catholic is the class team in the conference and is on their way to obtaining the regular season championship title as we enter into the final stretch in February. The Cougars will be the #1 seed in the conference playoffs unless they have a complete collapse which is highly unlikely based on their talent.
The Cougars took charge right from the start and never looked back. At the buzzer with Catholic up 11-6, sophomore Gracynn Gough swished a 3-point shot to give the home team a comfortable 14-6 advantage after the first period.
In the second period, the teams exchanged baskets and both teams played very competitively, however, Catholic was able to extend their lead by a point outscoring the Lady Patriots 12-11 taking a 9 point edge at the intermission 26-17.
When the teams returned to the court they continued to battle evenly, but Indy just could not chip away at the advantage the Cougars built up during the first half. In fact they were outscored 15-13 in the third period expanding the deficit to 11 points down 41-30.
In the final period both teams scored 10 points each while playing solid defense and aggressive basketball. The initial opening period run by the Cougars would stand and their inside advantage made the difference in the final outcome of this basketball game.
Blanca Thomas, the highly recruited 6’5″ sophomore who is ranked 6th in the nation in the Class of 2024 earned her 8th double-double of the season scoring 15 points and hauling down 14 rebounds. Her dominance under the boards was huge in the Cougars victory. Gracynn Gough another solid sophomore budding star added 14 points and 7 rebounds in the contest.
Meanwhile, the Patriots athletic sophomore Kaylee Carson led all scorers with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals for the visitors. However, in order for the Patriots to compete, they must have freshman Kamryn Kitchen who entered this contest averaging 15.7 points per game making a significant offensive contribution, but the youngster had an off night shooting just 2-7 from the 3-point range and 3-11 from the floor while scoring 8 points. She played solid defense and well in all other areas of the game. Meanwhile, other key players need to step up offensively such as Chloe Moss, Lily Todd, and Tamia Burgess when the Patriots top scorers struggle.
The Lady Cougars are now 17-1 overall, and undefeated in the conference at 6-0. Independence is now 12-4 overall, suffering two losses to Catholic, and are 3-3 in the conference sitting in third place.