By Brad Fauber
FRONT ROYAL -- Central welcomed in new head coach Mallory Skarupa in grand fashion with a season-opening victory Tuesday night over Warren County.
The Falcons forced the Wildcats into 35 turnovers, and Central junior Katelyn Poston dropped a game-high 29 points in the 61-46 road victory.
"I can breath a sigh of relief now," Skarupa said. "I'm super proud of our defense, we didn't lose our intensity the entire time. It was a good, solid win -- obviously there are things to work on, but we'll sleep a lot better tonight."
The Falcons (1-0) utilized a pesky full-court press in the first half that caused the Warren County offense some trouble, but the Wildcats were able to keep the game close in the first quarter, trailing just 14-12 after the first eight minutes.
Junior Alesha Adams was largely responsible for keeping the Wildcats (0-2) in the game, as the forward scored a team-high 21 points, including 14 in the first half.
Central quickly built a 10-point lead in the second period as the Falcons scored on their first four possessions of the frame. Poston and teammate Sydney Plum combined for eight points in the run to give Central a 22-12 lead with 5:53 remaining in the half. Poston's output, combined with the Falcons' full-court press, helped Central to a nine-point advantage going into halftime.
"[Poston] is going to do what she does, she's the type of girl who wants the ball in her hands, she's going to create things," Skarupa said. "Our press was really effective. We don't have a lot of height, but we're fast. Our girls like to play up-tempo, in your face, so as long as we can do that we're going to keep doing it."
The Falcons took a 31-22 advantage into intermission before Warren County stormed back to take a 34-33 lead on a bucket in the paint by junior Vanessa Calevro with 4:40 to play in the third.
The lead wouldn't last long as Central reclaimed a 35-34 lead on a put-back by freshman Cianne Fields, who added 14 points for the Falcons off the bench, and the Falcons would hold the lead for the remainder of the game.
Warren County's comeback bid took a hit when Adams appeared to suffer from leg cramps through most of the fourth quarter, forcing the junior to miss some time on the floor.
Central outscored the Wildcats 15-6 in the final frame, 11 of those points coming from the free throw line. Central knocked down 25 of 45 free throws on the night, compared to a 5 for 9 effort from the line by Warren County.
Central is back in action this evening as it hosts Skyline, and Warren County travels to Strasburg on Thursday for the third of four games this week.
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org