NEW MADRID -- In their first game back from Christmas break, New Madrid County Central head coach David Crockett emphasized one thing -- intensity.
"We've been off since the Christmas tournament so, we wanted to come out and play hard," he said. "We wanted to come out with some intensity."
Led by NMCC sophomore Benesha Childress, the Lady Eagles took care of the visiting Portageville Lady Bulldogs at New Madrid County Central High School on Tuesday night, 60-43.
Childress followed her impressive 87-point outing in four games at the Twin Rivers Lady Royals Holiday Classic with a game-high 27 points against the Lady Bulldogs.
"She's a scorer," said Crockett about Childress. "She's got that scorer's mentality and she finds ways to do it when you don't think she can. She does a great job on the boards and gets her hands on a lot of balls. She's real active."
The sophomore paced NMCC on both offense and defense creating easy layups with her dribble-drive ability and forcing numerous turnovers whether it was back-tip steals or blocked shots.
The Lady Eagles never trailed in what started out as a close game following a 15-11 first quarter. NMCC remained energetic on defense resulting in an 16-3 run during the second quarter.
Childress scored 13 of her 27 points in the second frame leading to a 33-20 halftime lead for NMCC.
"I thought we pretty well controlled the game most of the time," Crockett said. "I'm pleased with it. We're not where we want to be yet, but, we're heading in the right direction."
Although the Lady Bulldogs moved the ball up the court through NMCC's press, the defensively active Lady Eagles continued to swat balls away limiting any chance Portageville had to establish rhythm on the offensive end.
"They are very aggressive," Portageville head coach Barry Branscum said. "They get after you but, I thought we handled their press pretty well. We just created too many turnovers on our part.
"We had openings and we had opportunities, we just didn't always capitalize on them."
The Lady Eagles put the game completely in doubt in the second half which included outscoring Portageville 19-7 in the third quarter. NMCC went up by as much as 26 points in the final two quarters.
Karen McGloson and Brittany Johnson combined for 20 points to help aid NMCC's win. McGloson and Johnson each scored 10 points.
Portageville was led by Janika McIntyre's 13 points while Brooke Johnson added 12.
NMCC improved to 6-4 on the season while Portageville dropped to 1-8.
Both the Lady Eagles and Lady Bulldogs will get back to the hardwood on Thursday.
NMCC will travel to Senath-Hornersville while Portageville hosts Hayti.
PORTAGEVILLE (43) -- Emily DeLisle 9, Taylor McCoy 2, Janika McIntyre 13, Latavia Harris 5, Natalie Parrott 2, Brooke Johnson 12. FG 17, FT 8-15, F 15. (3-pointers: Harris 1. Fouled out: none.)
NMCC (60) -- Brittany Johnson 10, Dallas Campbell 3, Whitney Williams 5, Aquanness Johnson 4, Benesha Childress 27, Danika Garmon 1, Karen McGloson 10. FG 26, FT 5-20, F 14. (3-pointers: B. Johnson 1, Campbell 1, Childress 1. Fouled out: none.)