Given the difficult nature of her team’s schedule, Holden girls basketball coach Pam Forbes wasn’t checking an undefeated record off her list heading into the Christmas holiday.
The Lady Rockets gave it to her anyway.
Holden answered a determined University High run to end the third quarter with an explosive 17-0 surge in the fourth that turned into a 64-56 victory Friday in the Lady Cubs Holiday Classic.
“With our schedule it’s highly unlikely,” Forbes said of her glistening 17-0 record. “We’ve played some really good teams and we found a way to win. Our goal is to play well for 32 minutes.”
U-High (8-8) overcame a nine-point halftime deficit (35-26) with a 17-4 over the last six minutes of the third quarter. Kennedy Paul scored 10 of her team-high 19 points before a basket from Holden’s Victoria Richardson tied the game for at 43-43 heading into the final quarter.
Callie Engle and Faith Kwentua added 12 apiece for the Lady Cubs.
“I thought we showed a lot of heart in coming back,” U-High coach Bonita Johnson said. “We played well in the third and in the fourth we didn’t execute like we should have. We stepped back instead of attacking and that hurt us.”
Holden opened with consecutive field goals in the first 30 seconds of the final quarter from Kaylee Hughes and KK Kropog for a 47-43 lead, forcing U-High to call a quick timeout.
Holden fueled its offense off five of U-High’s eight fourth-quarter turnovers and the Lady Rockets made 6 of 7 shots that contributed to the 17-0 avalanche, resulting in a 60-43 advantage with 4:49 remaining on Jaycee Hughes’ fastbreak lay-up.
Kaylee Hughes, a McNeese State commitment and senior guard, matched her younger sister Jaycee’s six points during that run with Jaycee leading the way overall with 22 points and Kaylee adding 15.
That stretch featured a pivotal play with Holden leading 47-43 when Jaycee Hughes fought Paul for an offensive rebound and while falling to the floor, spotted Amanda Fekete for what turned into a three-point play and 50-43 lead.
U-High, which shot 28.3 overall (18 of 60) went just over six minutes without a field goal when guard Alyssa Fisher’s basket made it 62-51 with 1:52 to go, sparking a 7-2 run.
Holden, which shot 55 percent (22 of 44) used a 12-0 run over the last 2:22 of the opening quarter for a 18-13 lead. They reeled off six straight points in the second quarter to make it 24-13 on Emma Hutchinson’s 15-footer.
“U-High has some very talented players,” Forbes said. “This was big right before the holidays, right before we have some time off.”