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Lady Panthers, Lady Indians finish Centralia Invitational

Posted on Friday, December 13, 2019 at 10:35 pm

Lady Panthers beat Harrisburg 46-33,                         Lady Indians lose to Salisbury 66-45

The girls division of the Centralia Invitational is over for Centralia and Hallsville.

Centralia won consolation by beating Harrisburg. Hallsville lost the third place contest to Salisbury.

Mary Kate Bennett contends with two Harrisburg players for a rebound.

Centralia’s game was an athletic cruise for the Lady Panthers. They led 20-8 at the end of the first, 24-11 at halftime, 27-21 at the end of the third and finished off the Lady Bulldogs with a flurry of jumpers and free throws to win 46-33. The win puts them at 3-2 for the season.

Mary Kate Bennett led Centralia with 15 points, supported by Baylee Beard with eight and Joella Melegrirto and Chris Heimann with six each.

Zoe Carr led Harrisburg with nine.

“All of their players were a threat,” said Harrisburg Coach Ryan Richardson. “They are big and physical Mary Kate Bennett and Baylee Beard especially.”

Richardson said they were able to come within three points of Centralia in the third by “combining three offense not one. That enabled us to focus on points of their defense we could attack.”

But Centralia’s fourth-quarter surge enable them to pull away again.

“Mary Kate Bennett hitting a three and drawing the foul shots,” Lady Panthers Head Coach Becca Schemmer said of the drive. “That was like winning the lottery. They  has starred trapping us in the corners of the zone and we needed time to adjust to that.”

Schemmer said the team showed a lot of growth during the invitational.

“They are picking up on and improving little things,” she said. “Each game they got better.”

Lady Indians Coach Matt Heet said there was some learning opportunities for his team as well at the invitational. “If we had lost that first game, we would have never gotten to play Boonville or Salisbury. Those two game helped us learn and figure out things  that we would have never learned in the losers’ bracket,” Heet said. “Salisbury’s top three players just shined brighter than ours’ tonight.”

It was a tough game for Hallsville from the start.

Salisbury led all four quarters: 20-7 in the first, 34-18 in the second, 50-27 in the third and 66-45 at the finish.

Taylor Jones led Hallsville with 11, followed by Avery Oetting and Emily Leer with 10 each.

Bryn Wooldridge led Salisbury with 25.

Hallsville’s Emily Leer underhands one in for two.

“We knew we had to jump on them early,”  Wade Billington, Salisbury’s head coach said. “We played good tonight and kept the pressure on them to keep them off balance. We knew if we didn’t the Oetting girl would score and we wanted to keep her off the boards. We had to control her threes. She got some, but not enough.”

The now 5-1 Salisbury Lady Panthers will be back in the area for next month’s Sturgeon Invitational.

For more see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.