By Mark Clark
Sometimes there is just no explanation for what happens. Central coach Carolyn Wright had none when her Lady Red Devils lost a commanding lead in last Saturday night’s 58-51 loss to Shaw High of Columbus.
It was the third game of the week for the team which had beaten Lanett 48-41 and Smiths Station 84-38 earlier.
But, against Shaw on Saturday, the Lady Red Devils found a way to lose after building a 28-9 lead in the first half. Central outscored Shaw 13-1 in the first period and 15-8 in the second. Shaw rallied to cut the margin to three points by the end of the third period, 37-34, almost outscoring the Lady Red Devils by as many points in one period as Central had outscored the Lady Raiders in two periods. In the final period, Shaw outscored Central 24-14 to win the contest by seven points, 58-51.
“Clearly, we had the game in control at halftime. I just don’t know what happened. For some reason, we had a letdown. You have those from time to time when you are playing a team you think you can beat easily. I’ll have to look at the film to see what happened. I really just don’t know,” said Wright of her team’s second half performance.
No Lady Red Devils scored in double digits for the night. Erin Johnson led the team with nine points while Alleya King added eight points.
Until the Shaw loss, Wright felt her team was showing improvement and developing some depth. She was getting outstanding performances on the court from Kayla Davis, Johnson and King. She was trying to develop some players to give her team the rebounding it needed.
“Our main goal this week was to develop some depth. That was probably part of the problem against Shaw. We are still as green as can be. I try so hard to impress upon them that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. We will find out more about our team this week. We have some tough games. We have another area game and Auburn will be tough. They are a pretty decent team. My girls will have to show up to have a chance to win,” Wright said.
Before the Auburn game, Central was scheduled to play Sidney Lanier. They will play on the road at Auburn on Friday night and then again take to the road for a game with county rival Russell County on Saturday. The Lady Red Devils will then have a five-day break from playing – their longest break of the season since the nine days during the holidays.
“We need some time to practice to get the girls where they need to be. I need my big girls to step it up. If they do, we will be half way there,” Wright said.
In other games last week, Central’s girls beat Lanett 48-41. The Lady Red Devils trailed 22-19 at halftime. In the third period, Central outscored Lanett 18-8 to get the lead at 37-30 and held on to win. Johnson had 13 points to lead the Lady Red Devils in scoring. King scored 11 points for Central.
Central routed area rival Smiths Station 84-38. The Lady Red Devils led 22-9 at the end of the first period, 45-27 at halftime and 71-36 after three periods. Johnson scored 21 points and Davis contributed 19 points.