East junior guard Chloe Honaker netted 17 points, hitting 5 of 10 3-pointers, and was the only other player in double figures. East made 43.8 percent of its shots while Catholic canned just 33.3 percent.
"The worst game we played all year,'' said East coach Jim Justice, The Greenbrier resort owner. "Not to take anything away from Charleston Catholic because those kids played as hard as they could play. We had some kids sick.
"[Starting guard Elizabeth] Romeo and Andre' have been sick. Chloe Honaker has a turned ankle. You could say, 'Well, we have semester exams [today].' You've got issues. We haven't played in two weeks. All those are contributing factors, but it's my job to have them ready. Really to tell it like it is we played terrible. It was just one of those nights.''
It looked as though East (10-0) was going to run away from Catholic in the opening quarter, taking a 13-2 lead as Honaker knocked down three 3s. The Irish battled back and closed within 16-8 by the end of the period.
The Spartans were dialed in from long distance early, sinking seven straight 3s bridging the first and second quarters to go ahead 34-19 at halftime. East's lead reached as high as 18 points in the third period, but the Irish closed out the quarter with a 7-1 run to trail by 12 points (45-33) entering the fourth. Fletcher accounted for five of the seven points with a 3 and a baseline jump shot.
Fletcher finished with a game-high 22 points, including four 3s, and added five rebounds and five steals for Catholic. Irish senior point guard Anna Whelan contributed nine points, five boards and six assists and junior Hannah Gallian added 11 points and six rebounds off the bench.
"I think they're playing together as a team,'' O'Leary said. "They knew they needed to step up. I think this can only give them more confidence, which is what they need as they start edging toward the postseason.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.