Basketball (W)

Johnson Delivers 22 Points in Loss at Mars Hill


MARS HILL, N.C. -- Paige Chavis scored 21 of her game-high 26 points in the second half to lead host Mars Hill to an 82-67 win over Catawba in South Atlantic Conference women's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Stanford Arena.  The Lions improve to 2-6 overall and 1-2 in the SAC, while the Catawba Indians fall to 3-6 and 0-3.

Mars Hill put all five starters in double figures.  Chavis hit on 8-of-16 shots, including all three of her three-point attempts, and was perfect on seven shots at the line.  Cadence Wilmoth followed with 16 points and handed out six assists.  Raven Brown, Ansley Ricker and Genice Lane all scored 10 points with Kelsey Espinosa adding six points and a dozen rebounds.

Bri Johnson led Catawba with 22 points, adding five steals and five rebounds.  Terri Rogers collected 13 points and seven rebounds with Janna Dixon chipping in with a dozen points off the bench.

Catawba led most of the first quarter and went up 17-11 following a three-pointer by Dixon to open the second stanza.  The Lady Indians would hit only two more field goals the rest of the half as Mars Hill raced ahead. 

Two free throws by Wilmoth at the 9:16 mark started a 16-0 run for the Lions that spanned nearly six minutes before a three-pointer from Johnson ended the Catawba drought.  It was Wilmoth's layup with 6:39 left in the half that put Mars Hill on top to stay at 18-17.

The Lions pushed a six-point halftime lead to 14 midway through the third quarter.  Espinosa's basket had Mars Hill up 46-32 with 4:35 to go.  Catawba scored the final six points of the third quarter to pull within 54-47 then added a three-point play by Johnson to start the final quarter to close the gap to 54-50. 

The Lady Indians had a chance to cut the deficit to a single possession, but after a miss, Lane converted a three-point play to make it 59-52 with 8:16 left.  Chavis followed with two free throws after a Catawba turnover and when she added three more free throws the lead was back to double digits at 64-54 at the 7:19 mark.  Mars Hill went on to lead by as many as 16 in the final four minutes.

Catawba shot just 32% in the loss and went just 8-of-38 (21%) in the first half.  Following a slow start, Mars Hill shot 52% for the game, which included nearly 61% in the final half.  The Lions also enjoyed a 47-37 edge on the glass.

 Catawba will close out the pre-Christmas schedule with a pair of games next week.  First up will be Carson-Newman on Wednesday at 6 pm.

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