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Bench powers Lewis past tough Williams

Shenita Urquhart did about everything she could to garner the defense’s attention.

The Francis Lewis senior guard knocked down three three-pointers in the second quarter, where she collected all of her 11 points. Still, the focus of the Archbishop Williams defense was on UMass-bound point guard Kelly Robinson and Sabrina Jeridore, who is headed to Iona. Late in the second quarter, Valerie Driscoll, Archbishop Williams’ Michigan-bound center, had to instruct one of her teammates to get out and guard Urquhart on the perimeter.

“That just made me open more because they were packing it in down low, trying to stop Kelly,” said Urquhart, who was used sparingly last season. “It just left me open.”

In a strong game for the Patriots’ bench, Urquhart led a 20-4 run over the second and third quarters and Lewis fended off an Archbishop Williams (Mass.) comeback in the fourth for a 54-42 win at the Big Apple Recruiting Christmas Classic at Bishop Ford Sunday. Robinson added 10 points and Jeridore had nine.

“A lot of people weren’t expecting much from her,” Jeridore said. “She has shown improvement. She is an important part of the team. ... We needed those [three-pointers].”

Francis Lewis Coach Steve Tsai believes Urquhart, the team’s leading scorer in league play, is more comfortable in her role on the wing and his showing more aggression this season. Reserve guard Theodora Alexandrou had a team-high 12 points, including two three-pointers, during the second quarter run that opened up an 11-point halftime lead. She had four points during an 8-0 spurt that put the game away in the fourth.

“On a given day, everyone in terms of their role, someone can step in and utilize their strengths to really help us,” Tsai said.

Williams, a Massachusetts state championship contender, got back into the game on the play of Driscoll (23 points) in the paint. While Jeridore was physical, didn’t back down and held her own inside, Tsai believed the Patriots (8-0) needed to do a better job fronting and rotating behind Driscoll. She scored with one second left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 39-33. Aisden Duquetter added eight points for Williams (2-2).

Jeridore and Robinson took it from there.

“We had to step it up,” Jeridore said. “It was getting a little scary.”

The 6-foot-4 senior scored on a strong move in the paint for two. Robinson found her for a layup and then hit Alexandrou for a jumper on the left side to cap the run. The Patriots’ quick response again illustrated how far they have come from last season, where a game like this might have spiraled out of control in the final minutes.

“I don’t think last year we could have won this game,” Urquhart said. “I think mentally we have grown more.”

Reach Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewski@nypost.com.

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