Kelly leads surging Colts to win in Grafton tourney

GRAFTON – Celeste Kelly scored 14 points Thursday to lift Philip Barbour over Liberty, 47-18, in an opening round game of the Sam Bord Memorial Tournament.

The win advances the Colts (3-4) to the championship game at 9 p.m. today against Grafton, which defeated Clay-Battelle on Wednesday night.

After losing their first four games, the Colts have won three straight. Philip Barbour coach Stan Fitzwater says the squad is starting to “gel” and “play as a team.”

“We played good defense again tonight,” Fitzwater said. “We extended the floor and pressed them. It was an overall good effort. Our shooting percentage is still low, but we made the shots when we needed them.”

Aside from scoring 14 points, Kelly also added five steals. Freshman Chelsea Mayle contributed 10 points and junior Haley Stewart had seven points and five steals.

“We have a couple of upperclassmen that have really come on strong,” Fitzwater said, naming Kelly, Stewart and Raychel Fitzwater. “They’ve been around for three years and they’re showing good leadership for the freshmen.

“Winning does a lot to improve team moral. I’m excited about our progression. We play an up-tempo game and we sub a lot. So the girls all know they each play an important role.”