Defense sparks Central past Warren County

WOODSTOCK — Central girls basketball coach Bryan Scott stresses to his players how important defense is. On Saturday night he was very pleased with the Central defense in the third period.

The Falcons held Warren County to only a field goal in the third period en route to a 58-38 Bull Run District girls basketball victory.

“I decided to come out in the third quarter and play a little man-to-man. Things started going well for us,” Scott said of Central’s defense. “…I started at the beginning of the season telling these young ladies I’m a defensive-minded coach. I think the offense will take care of itself when you play defense.”

It worked for the Falcons on Saturday as they scored 17 points in the third period.

Central senior Cianne Fields started things off in the second half with a 3-pointer. That started an 8-3 run to give Central a 36-26 lead.

Warren County’s Sam Schroyer cut the lead to eight with a basket with 5:11 left in the third period. It would be Warren County’s only basket of the period. The team went almost eight minutes without a basket, scoring only 4 points during the span from the free-throw line.

Fields said the key to Central playing strong defense is communication.

“Especially on screens we’ve got to talk. We’ve got to move,” Fields said. “We can’t let them get the easy shots, so we have to talk.”

Central senior Meredith Phillips scored 5 straight points and Fields followed with a driving layup to boost the lead to 43-28 with 3:42 left in the third period.

Four free throws by Nikki Roof helped the Wildcats cut the lead to 45-32 after three periods.

That would be as close as the Wildcats could get. Central junior Tamra Scott scored 4 straight points and scored on another driving layup to push the lead to 51-34 with 4:43 left.

“Every time they took an 11-point lead, we battled back, but then they just took over in the fourth quarter,” Warren County coach John Kelly said. “Tamra (Scott) got hot. Tamra started running full court transition — that hurts.”

Central (10-1) was able to build an early lead, creating turnovers and scoring easy baskets in the first half. The Falcons jumped out to a 16-6 lead after the first period.

Twice in the second period the Wildcats responded with a run to cut into a double-digit Central lead. The Wildcats used a 10-0 spurt to cut the lead to 28-23 at the half, aided by two 3-pointers from Lisette Moya Machuca.

Central went 14-for-18 in the first half from the free-throw line, while Warren County was 3-for-10.

Schroyer led the Wildcats with 8 points and seven rebounds, and Nikki Roof and Moya Machuca each had seven. The Wildcats are a young squad with only three seniors, and Kelly said he was pleased with how they played.

“I keep telling them every step’s a building block for us,” Kelly said. “It’s just a matter of, you have to play good teams like this in order to see what we can also do.”

Tamra Scott had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead Central. Fields had 15 points and four steals, and Phillips had 10 points, six rebounds and four steals. Kendall Herbaugh had 5 points and seven rebounds for Central.

The Falcons returned their entire team from last year, and Fields said they just keep improving and have high hopes for the rest of the year.

“We’re 10-1. The one loss, honestly, we could have won it,” Fields said. “I feel like we’re going to go really far this year. We didn’t lose anybody, we just gained so were just working with that.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com