(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Things went south quickly for the Scott County Central Bravettes on Thursday while hosting Saxony Lutheran.
Under a hail of six first quarter 3-pointers, the Lady Crusaders were able to build a 27-point halftime lead before cruising to a 65-39 win.
"They were on fire in the first half," Scott Central head coach Matt Limbaugh said of Saxony Lutheran. "Even after your great defensive possessions they would somehow drive the lane and throw up a shot that would go in.
"That's what great teams do. Just when you think you've had a good possession they throw the dagger at you."
The Lady Crusaders came into the contest as the second-ranked Class 3 team in the state and didn't waste time in proving why with a total of six girls contributing to a 28-8 opening run.
Four different Saxony Lutheran (19-2) players hit a three during the rally as the Lady Crusaders put up all six of their 3-pointers in the first eight minutes of play.
The Bravettes (14-6) slowed down Saxony Lutheran in the second frame, but were still outscored 14-7 to give the Lady Crusaders a 42-15 lead heading into halftime.
After the break, the Bravettes attempted to put together a comeback with Abby Ross opening the third quarter with a quick put-back. Six-straight points by Saxony Lutheran followed, however, and Scott Central was forced to try and keep their deficit below 30.
As the final minutes of the frame wound down, the Lady Crusaders pushed ahead by 34 points thanks to a 9-2 run.
Back-to-back baskets from Ann Dennis and Johniqua Fort had the Bravettes back within 57-37 to start the fourth.
Through the final frame, Scott Central fought to turn off the turbo-clock and after once again trailing by 34 points, rallied for eight-straight to close out the night.
"Our bench came out and shot the ball well," Lady Crusaders' head coach Sam Sides said. "We had six threes in the first quarter and that gave us a cushion.
"We kind of eased up after that and in reality I thought we can play a lot better."
With a total of 10 girls contributing to the cause, Saxony Lutheran was led by Brianna Mueller's 15 points and four assists. Abby Hadler, Lauren Hecht and Raegan Wieser had eight points each for the Lady Crusaders with Wieser also coming away with a team-high eight rebounds and four assists.
Maddie Brune had seven points, six rebounds and a team-high five steals.
"We're blessed with a lot of depth," Sides said. "I have 10 girls that can play. Mostly underclassmen. I have two seniors that play and another hurt.
"My sophomore, (Hadler), scored a little bit. I thought she played well. She's been shooting the ball well the last couple games and has really gave us a lift."
Leading Scott Central was Mikaela Blissett with 11 points while the Bravettes got nine points from Ziaire Davis and six points each from Derien Ditto and Fort.
"They didn't quit even though the scoreboard was rough," Limbaugh said of his team. "I kept telling them not to even worry about the score and just continue to fight and to continue to try and get better.
"Playing a good team you just have to hope for the best, try to stay positive and know there's more important things in the future."
Scott Central will try and put the loss behind them when they host the Oran Lady Eagles tonight at 5 p.m. for homecoming.
Scott Central's boys junior varsity game will follow the Bravettes contest with Scott Central and Oran's boys varsity squads capping the night's homecoming action.
SAXONY LUTHERAN (65) -- Abby Hadler 8, Grace Mirly 7, Ali Galemmo 2, Brianna Mueller 15, Natalie Mueller 2, Lauren Hecht 8, Tess Daniel 4, Ashlynn Collier 4, Raegan Wieser 8, Maddie Brune 7. FG 29, FT 1-4, F 15. (3-pointers: Hadler 2, Mirly 1, Brianna Mueller 1, Hecht 2. Fouled out: none.)
SCOTT CENTRAL (39) -- Mikaela Blissett 11, Johniqua Fort 6, Abby Ross 4, Ziaire Davis 9, Derien Ditto 6, Ann Dennis 3. FG 15, FT 8-15, F 9. (3-pointers: Ditto 1. Fouled out: none.)