By Mark Clark
Central High coach Carolyn Wright was not worried about establishing a big lead against Smiths Station High on Monday night. She had a more important plan in mind. She wanted to make sure she got girls into the game to gain experience.
The fact that Central did win the contest 65-22 was just icing on the cake as the team improved to 10-10 overall and 2-1 in Area 4 play.
“I really did not worry about getting a big lead to get more girls into the game to get playing experience. I wanted to get them into the game when things were tight. They need playing time, but they need playing experience when the game is not already decided. They need to learn to play when things are tougher,” Wright said.
Things were tight early as the Lady Red Devils only led 15-12 at the end of the first quarter. That was as close as it would be the rest of the night as the Lady Red Devils rotated its entire bench against Smiths Station and all of the Central players contributed points in the victory.
Central ran ahead for a 36-18 halftime advantage by outscoring the Lady Panthers 21-6 in the second quarter. At the end of the third quarter, Central led 58-21. In the final quarter, with the clock running as required by the AHSAA mercy rule after a team establishes a 30-point lead, Central had seven points to Smiths Station’s one.
Sierra Roberts and Eryn Johnson led Central’s scorers as both had 10 points.
Mya Brooks led Smiths Station with 11 points.
“It was good to get them all in the game and for all of them to get points. I think my girls are showing a lot of improvement. My inside girls are gaining confidence by getting rebounds and scoring off those rebounds. We also improved on our turnovers. We set a goal of not having more than 15 turnovers and we only had 16 in this game,” Wright said.
Central got its first victory of the week, after having to shuffle games due to snow last week, on Saturday night against Russell County. Central won the contest 71-39.
Central led 13-7 after the initial eight minutes of play and led 40-16 at halftime. After three quarters, the Lady Red Devils were ahead 58-32. Central repeated its first quarter totals, 13-7, in the final eight minutes to win the contest.
Kayla Davis led Central with 17 points and Alleya King scored 11 points for the Lady Red Devils.
Jaidyn Battle was the leading scorer for Russell County with 15 points.
Central was scheduled to face Shaw High of Columbus on Tuesday at home after Citizen press time. On Friday, the Lady Red Devils will play at home against Auburn High in their final Area 4 game of the season. A victory over Auburn would give Central at least a share of the Area 4 regular season title. On Saturday night, Central will be at home against Northview High of Dothan as the Lady Red Devils celebrate Senior Night.
For Central, Senior Night will honor only one player – Davis. There are no other seniors on the squad. Next season, if the same players are on the squad, the team will have two seniors, a freshman, a sophomore and the rest will be juniors.
“We were rebuilding and lacked experience this season. It speaks volumes when you see all the young players we have. That means our future should be bright as long as they continue to develop as players. They can only get better with experience,” Wright said.