By Eliot Schickler

eschickler@bcnnew.com

Give the Weston girls basketball team credit for its tenacious play against Kolbe Cathedral Thursday.

Weston played well for the most part and had a chance to upset the perennial basketball power in a road game at the Sheehan Center. However, the Lady Trojans didn't execute well at all times, from missed free throws and turnovers in the first half, and poor shot selection in the second half, they fell short to Kolbe Cathedral, 56-47.

"I'm happy with how hard we played and it was a great game," Weston coach Dan Rosen said. "I'm happy with our intensity. We played well without Morgan and I told them we can play well without Morgan."

Rosen was referring to starting junior guard Morgan Moubayed, who is out with an injury. He hopes to get her back soon because he only used six players without Moubayed, which was part of the adversity his team faced.

"It's a tough place to play and the girls responded well," Rosen said.

The Lady Cougars raised their record to 10-7. The Lady Trojans dropped to 6-10.

Kolbe Cathedral used its speed, quick hands and athleticism in taking a 6-2 lead after sophomore Aailyah Christy stole it from Weston and set up a fastbreak layup.

Senior captain Ellie Martin kept the Lady Trojans in the game and scored the team's first nine points. Martin had a game-high 22 points and scored nine in the first quarter and hit a layup to give Weston a 13-11 lead with 25 seconds left.

"My teammates set me up for easy layups," Martin said.

Martin also kept her team in the game by tenaciously getting every rebound possible, finishing the game with 13 boards.

"We all worked hard to box out because Kolbe is a good rebounding team," Martin said.

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Lady Cougar sophomore Nakayla Nelson answered with a 3-pointer to give her team a 14-13 lead after one quarter.

Senior captain Lianna Hursh (11 points, three rebounds, three assists, one steal, one blocked shot), who hit a 3-pointer in the opening quarter for the team's only trey of the night, gave the Lady Trojans a 15-14 lead with a layup, which was their last advantage of the night. However, junior Jasmine Fogel (16 points) responded with a layup.

Weston junior Anna Mahony's free throw tied it, 16-16, but Kolbe Cathedral took the lead for good on Fogel's 3-pointer. Martin scored the Lady Trojans' final four points of the half and her two free throws made it 21-20 with 3:07 left. The Lady Cougars closed out the half with a 7-0 run, and junior Caroline Centeno's (15 points) trey made it 28-20 with 7.3 seconds to go.

Missed opportunities prevented Weston from keeping it closer, if not, taking a lead. Martin was the only Lady Trojan that was an offensive threat and had 13 points before the break. She was a perfect 5-5 from the line while her teammates went 2-8 from the free throw line, including Hursh's 0-3. Hursh and sophomore Lindsay Koch both missed the front end of 1-of-1s.

"We all came in with the mindset that we could compete and make good passes, take good shots and play good basketball," Martin said.

After the break, Weston picked up its play -- especially junior lefty Taylor Swanson. The southpaw Swanson began the rally by hitting two runners to cap a 7-0 surge and cut the deficit to one, 28-27.

"Taylor played a great game," Rosen said. "It was the best game I saw her play."

Swanson had 10 of her 11 points in the second half and was a defensive sparkplug with a steal and three forced turnovers. One of her forced turnovers came after her second layup, which led to a steal by junior center Anna Mahony.

"I'm always reading the other team, even if it's not a player I'm guarding," Swanson said.

Mahony's theft gave the Lady Trojans a chance to reclaim the lead but they missed the shot.

Kolbe Cathedral's lead was back up to eight before Weston mounted another rally. Freshman Kristin Caolo (two points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal, one blocked shot) contributed to the surge with a putback off the offensive glass and Swanson, who was 5-6 from the line overall, a perfect 4-4 in the second half, hit two free throws to make it 41-40.

"I realized I needed to step it up and we needed points," Swanson said. "I used the off the dribble attack method to get myself to the line."

Martin (two steals, one blocked shot, two forced turnovers) had a knack of tying up the Lady Cougars for jump balls and one of her four tieups followed Swanson's free throws, which gave the Lady Trojans possession and a chance to take the lead.

"We all played very good defensively," Swanson said. "Everyone tried to get the ball in our hands."

Rosen said, "Ellie was fantastic and she's a warrior. She gives everything she has and set the tone with her hard-nosed play."

Fogel reversed the tide with a blocked shot that led to a coast-to-coast layup, which started an 8-3 run to put the game away.

Mahony (one point, six rebounds, one steal, four blocked shots) and Koch (two assists, one steal) contributed for Weston.