LEE >> A strong first quarter was all the Lee girls basketball team needed against Lenox.
Hosting the South County Tournament, the Wildcats were coming off a loss in the opener on Monday against Mount Everett.
They responded with a strong opening frame, in which they took an 11-point lead, in the consolation game en route to a 45-31 victory over the Millionaires.
Karli Retzel scored 20 points for Lee (2-3) while Taylor Fera added eight and Kendra Williams contributed six.
Williams combined with Brianna Hawley (five points) and Cara Walker (four points) to control the glass for Lee.
"Something that we've been working on that we need to do a better job of is coming out strong," Lee coach Jenna Gangell said. "We have the tendency to get ourselves dug into a hole in the first quarter, and the rest of the game we're just trying to dig out of it. So one of the focuses tonight was to try and get an early lead and be able to maintain it."
For Lenox (0-4), Jackie Hathaway led the way with 15 points while Alice Najimy registered 10.
After the 16-5 lead through one quarter, Lee held the lead around 10 points or so for the majority of the game. The Wildcats led by 10 at halftime and by nine at the end of the third quarter. The closest the Millionaires got during those two quarters was seven, which was achieved toward the end of the third.
Neither team scored in the fourth quarter until 2:10 remaining when Retzel made a free throw. Gamberoni then converted a field goal for Lenox, pulling the Millionaires within eight with 1:50 left, but they didn't score again.
"For us to be effective offensively we need to create baskets in transition," Lenox coach Mike Nykorchuck said.
"Rebounding is a major issue for us right now," Nykorchuck added. "We're not the biggest team in the world. In addition, I'm missing my best rebounder to an injury right now. Against a team like Lee that boxes out and rebounds so well, we certainly did struggle with that."
Hathaway 5-4-15, Najimy 4-0-10, Gamberoni 1-1-3, Herrick 1-0-3.
Retzel 5-7-20, Fera 4-0-8, Williams 3-0-6, Hawley 2-1-5, Walker 0-4-4, DeSantis 1-0-2.
3-point goals — Lenox 4 (Najimy 2, Hathaway, Herrick). Lee 3 (Retzel 3).