Central routs Rock Ridge
WOODSTOCK – Like most local teams, Central’s girls basketball team hadn’t practiced in nearly a week when the Falcons hosted Conference 28 foe Rock Ridge on Wednesday evening. It showed.
The Falcons shot less than 25 percent from the floor against the Phoenix, but a lopsided start and Rock Ridge’s own offensive struggles helped Central to a 57-27 win.
“We haven’t practiced in forever, hadn’t touched a ball in five days because of delays and cancellations and stuff like that,” Falcons coach Mallory Skarupa said. “We knew it was going to be a little sloppy but it shouldn’t have been that sloppy.”
Central (14-5) got plenty of looks on offense against the Phoenix, as it tallied 81 shot attempts in the win. However, the Falcons only made 19 for a 23.5-percent mark.
A lot of the Falcons’ offensive ineptitude on Wednesday could be attributed to Central’s long layoff, but Rock Ridge freshman Helen Jeffries also played a key factor on defense for the Phoenix. Jeffries finished with nine blocks to go along with her team-high 8 points and 15 rebounds.
“She’s very tall. Usually we can get around them, but it was very difficult to get some shots off of her,” said Falcons junior Cianne Fields, who finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. “Once we saw that she was blocking us and we weren’t able to get some shots inside, we just kept working the ball around and tried to get some outside shots.”
It helped that Central essentially had the game in hand by the end of the first period. The Falcons outscored Rock Ridge, a first-year program with eight freshmen on its 11-player roster, 20-2 in the opening eight minutes, forcing 14 turnovers in the process.
“The first quarter was awesome,” Skarupa said. “We came out ready to go and then we just kind of dropped off. I think we kind of stopped playing after that thinking, well we’ve got this in the bag instead of hustling after the little things because we’ve got to prepare for tomorrow [at Clarke County]. We can’t play like that tomorrow.”
The Falcons backed off their full-court pressure in the second period after stretching their lead to 26-2, and Rock Ridge (0-15) responded by outscoring Central 11-9 in the frame to go into halftime trailing 29-13.
The Phoenix continued to hack away at the deficit in the third period, eventually cutting Central’s lead to 34-23 following Jasmyne Hinkamp’s coast-to-coast layup off her own steal with 3:32 left in the quarter.
“Give them credit. They stayed with it,” Skarupa said of Rock Ridge. “They’re an athletic team. They’re going to be a good team.”
Central answered with back-to-back buckets by Brooklyn Pumphrey (nine points, eight rebounds) and Fields to go into the final period up 15 points, and the Falcons outscored the Phoenix 19-4 in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore forward Tamra Scott notched a double-double in the win for the Falcons, as she finished with team highs in points (18) and rebounds (15). Scott was 9 for 11 from the free-throw line.
Hinkamp finished with six points for the Phoenix and Taryn Hollis added three points and five steals for a Rock Ridge team that shot 18.5 percent (10 for 54) from the floor and turned the ball over 36 times.
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org