The Clear Falls Knights earned a comfortable 45-32 win against the Pearland Lady Oilers at home Tuesday night to continue their early portion of the 2017-18 season.
Kaylee Hernadez scored four 3-pointers in the first half and added three free throws in the fourth quarter to finish with 15 points for the Knights, while Madison Lussier finished with 13 points, hitting six baskets and a charity.
“Madison Lussier being inside the paint was an absolute factor for us in scoring and rebounding,” said Clear Falls head coach Shannon Osborne. “I felt like Kaylee Hernandez had some really good shots early on that helped on. We were able to contain their leading shooter. We had a lot of players coming off the bench, too, tonight.”
The Knights (3-0) never trailed, taking leads of 13-6 at the end of the first quarter and 29-18 at the half.
Jessica Epting finished with 8 points and was the only Knight to score in each quarter of the game while being a dominant presence on defense.
“Jessica did a great job for us on the boards,” Osborne said. “We just played great team defense and that helped us to win the board game.”
The Lady Oilers (1-3) were powered by Macey Braswell who scored the majority of their points, finishing with 24 including eight field goals. She was 8-of-9 on free throws.
Sophia Volpe had four points for the evening, scoring all of her points in the second quarter including a 3-pointer.
“Right now, we’re facing some adversity,” said Pearland head coach Lauren Martens. “We have two starters out and some bench players out due to injury. We have players trying to figure out where their place is and learning their roles. Clear Falls was a good challenge for us. But we have some ways to go. It’s a process.”
Baskets from Lauryn Small, Addy Girouard, Epting and Hernandez helped the Knights to an early 8-0 lead.
It wasn’t until the 2:04 mark of the first quarter when the Oilers could get on the scoreboard, thanks to an inside shot by Braswell.
Braswell managed to draw a foul on her way to the basket and she completed the 3-point play to narrow the Knights’ lead to 13-9 at the start of the second quarter.
Hernandez responded with two of her outside shots on the left side of the arc.
“Kaylee’s a great shooter,” Osborne said. “We knew that she could shoot the ball well. She’s finding her shots and that confidence is growing for her and, hopefully, we’ll see that continue for her.”
Lussier danced into the paint for consecutive turnaround jumpers to put Clear Falls at a 23-15 advantage.
She hit her third field goal of the second quarter on a layup and Hernandez’s fourth 3-pointer of the game gave the Lady Knights a 29-18 halftime lead.
All of Hernandez’s first half baskets came from beyond the arc.
Lussier scored her fifth bucket of the night off a putback shortly after intermission.
Epting grabbed a missed jumper from Braswell and turned it into a 3-point play off a shooting foul, giving Clear Falls a 34-18 lead with 4:00 remaining in the third.
The Lady Oilers couldn’t get a basket in the third quarter until the 2:40 mark with Braswell’s deuce.
A wide-open Small on the far-left side of the perimeter drilled her first 3-pointer of the night before a Lussier basket in the paint ended the third quarter with Lady Knights leading by 17.
But the Lady Oilers didn’t go away so easily, using an 8-1 run in the fourth.
Fouls in the early part of the fourth quarter allowed Braswell to capitalize with three charities along with a field goal and the Lady Oilers pulled to a 40-27 deficit with 5:12 left.
The Knights’ shooting stagnated a bit in the fourth, managing only a free throw by Hernandez in the first four minutes of the final quarter.
Clear Falls’ lead shrunk to 10 with 2:15 left.
“We had a lot of energy in the fourth quarter,” Martens said. “We knew, defensively, we had to pick it up. Our guards did a great job of attacking. We’re going to keep building.”
However, the Lady Oilers couldn’t get much closer and the Knights controlled possession in the closing minutes to preserve the win.
“They did go on a nice run late in the game but we slowed the ball down and they ran out of time,” Osborne said.