LEE, Mass. -- Kendra Williams scored six points in a pivotal fourth-quarter run, and Karli Retzel scored a team-high 20 points Friday to lead the Lee High girls basketball team to a 54-46 win over Mount Everett in the second of three meetings between the teams this winter.
The Eagles (6-3) used pressure defense in the third quarter to erase most of a 12-point deficit and draw within four, 40-36, going into the fourth.
But Williams was fouled in the post on Lee’s first possession. Then after she grabbed a defensive rebound at the other end, she was the beneficiary of an assist from Retzel out of Lee’s press break, extending the lead to 44-36.
Taylor Fera hit a free throw after getting fouled on a jumper from the left wing to give the Wildcat a nine-point bulge. Then, after Mount Everett’s Madison Ullrich (12 points, 13 rebounds) scored with an assist from Madeline VonRuden to make it 45-38, Williams put back the rebound of her own miss to give the Wildcats (9-1) a 47-38 lead with 5 minutes, 20 seconds left to play.
Mount Everett was never able to get closer than five the rest of the way, and Cara Walker and Retzel combined to hit three of four at the line in the final minute to secure the win.
The victory avenged Lee’s only loss of the season, a 64-63 defeat at Mount Everett in the South County Tournament Championship Game. Last year, the teams split the regular season series before the Eagles won, 59-54, in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semi-finals.
“I think the home court gives you the four or five point advantage that it is, and I think we lost by, what was it, eight points?” Mount Everett coach Scott Rote said. “I think we are as close as two teams in the [Berkshire County] South can be right now. You take Mount Greylock with Benzinger and her height, and I’ll tell you what, we’ve got a triangle of teams that’s pretty amazing.
“[Lee] is tough inside. Today, I think we did a better job on the boards. We were getting hands on the ball but losing it, which hurts.”
Lee earned a decided edge on the glass, outrebounding the Eagles by a margin of 55-32 behind 14 boards from Brianna Hawley and 11 from Mikayla DiSantis.
The evenness of the South County rivals was reflected in the duel between Retzel and Mount Everett sophomore Gwen Carpenter, who scored a game-high 24 points before fouling out in the final minute.
“They’re both really good players,” Lee coach Jeff Puleri said. “They both play really hard. They make their teammates better. It’s a good matchup. These teams are pretty evenly matched all the way around. They give 100 percent, both players -- both teams for that matter.
“We’ll take it. Another hard-fought game, and fortunately this time we came out on top.”
Retzel did most of her scoring damage in the first half, pouring in 15 to help the Wildcats take a nine-point lead into the locker room.
It was just a two-point lead early in the second when Hawley hit a 3-pointer to make it 24-19 and start an 8-0 run for Lee. She went on to hit two foul shots and close the run with another triple on her way to an 11-point night.
Williams scored all 12 of her points and grabbed six of her eight rebounds in the second half.
Lee is off until Jan. 24 when it hosts Mount Greylock. The Eagles have a quick turnaround, heading to Pioneer on Saturday afternoon.