Tuesday night Centralia’s Lady Panther basketball team hosted and beat the state-ranked New Bloomfield Lady Wildcats.
Centralia led the whole game and beat the seventh-ranked Class 2 team, 47-38.
The Lady Panthers are now 5-5 and Friday night they host Harrisburg’s Lady Bulldogs.
Centralia dominated from the start, finishing the first quarter ahead, 18-10, the only blemish being New Bloomfield’s Maddie Craighead making things tough with a high hand countering many of the Lady Panthers’ inside shots.
But not enough of them.
Centralia’s Olivia Eikel scored the first points of the game, leading Centralia to an early 10-3 lead with some help by Carter Simkins and Mary Kate Bennett.
As the quarter ended, timely three-point shots from the east side of Jim Enlow Court by Gracie Peavler and Kyra Dickerson helped cement Centralia’s lead.
Things slowed down a little in the second, but Centralia still went into halftime with a 22-19 lead.
“We started out not having much patience in our offense,” Centralia Head Coach Becca Schemmer said. “They sat back in a zone against us and we had to pass the ball around to find openings… We started to do that more in the second half.”
Which might explain how Centralia turned its three-point lead to 12 by the end of the third quarter, 37 to New Bloomfield’s 25.
“We weren’t executing the game plan as well as I wanted to,” Schemmer said when asked what she told the team over halftime to inspire the higher scoring. “Once we started playing with more energy in the second half and once our kids get rolling and get excited about the game, there’s not much stopping them.”
They kept on rolling to score two more points in the fourth to win.
Eikel led Centralia with 14 points, followed by Bennett with 12 and Courtney Luedloff with five.
“We hit four threes tonight, four different kids,” Schemmer said when asked what performances put a smile on her face. “Everybody knows were not a three-point team, but the fact that we had four kids step up and knock down a three; that’s 12 points we weren’t really expecting from the get-go so that was nice.
Craighead led New Bloomfield with 14.
For the complete article, please see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.