MAYO — With their leading scorer watching from the bench due to an injury, the Lafayette Hornets needed someone to pick up the slack on Tuesday against Hamilton County.
Brooklyn Fleming was ready.
The sophomore tallied 21 points and 18 rebounds to lead LHS to a 42-38 home victory in a game filled with swings. Fleming, who also notched four steals and three assists, was the team leader in the absence of Renee Clines. During a key stretch at the end of the first half and into the third quarter — when LHS went on a 10-5 run — Fleming scored or assisted on 10 straight Hornets’ points.
Then in the fourth quarter with the game tied at 38 with two minutes remaining, she scored the basket that put Lafayette ahead for good.
“We lost one of our bigger players, so someone had to step up,” Fleming said. “She (Clines) came today and was on the bench. We wanted to give her a good game and show her we could do it.”
Charlie James added a pair of 3-pointers while sophomore Haley Rosenbaum had nine points for the Hornets. Lafayette (11-6, 3-1) led by eight points in the first quarter and took a 36-28 advantage going into the final period.
“Brooklyn played well and that was big for us,” said Hornets coach Jimmy Blankenship. “We’re a young team, learning as we go. Hopefully this will help in three weeks when the district starts and we’ll be alright then.”
After falling behind early, Pedja Cooks and Aleeka Williams propelled Hamilton County’s comeback. Williams finished with a game-high 23 points while Cooks had two 3-pointers and eight points.
It didn’t look good for Lafayette when James picked up her fourth foul midway through the third quarter and Fleming committed her fourth foul early in the fourth quarter. But some wise substituting from Blankenship and the ability of both starters to play aggressive without fouling helped LHS earn the win.
Williams had a big final quarter for HCHS to make it interesting at the end. She scored 10 points in the fourth, including a layup that tied the score with two minutes left.
“Without Renee in there we seem to play in spurts. We get Renee back in a week and that will help energize us.”
— LHS coach Jimmy Blankenship on missing his key player