Central seniors part of special time for program

Cianne Fields

EMPORIA – Things didn’t go the way Central’s trio of seniors were hoping on Tuesday night, but Cianne Fields, Meredith Phillips and Brooklyn Pumphrey were a part of something special over the last four years.

The three seniors had their season come to an end in a 64-51 loss to Greensville County, just one win shy of a second state tournament appearance. They were still upbeat and happy with what they accomplished over the last four years.

“I’m really happy with how the past three years have gone,” Pumphrey said. “I didn’t want the season to end like this. I wanted to go to states again, but for the most part the past four years have been a really great part of my high school career.”

The three have been playing together since they were in elementary school and said that helped them develop a strong chemistry together.

“Playing together all the way from when we were 8-9 years old up to 17-18 years old – it’s a long time, and I think that really helps when you play on a team together for a long time,” Fields said.

Meredith Phillips

Two years ago as sophomores the trio all played a part in Central’s run to the Group 3A state semifinals.

Phillips decided not to play basketball last year, but returned this season and said she was very happy she decided to come back out for the team this year.

“I’ve got to give a lot of our success to coach (Bryan) Scott, because without coaching you can’t have success,” Phillips said. “I’m really glad I came out again this year.”

The team had no seniors last year and still won 17 games. This season with Scott replacing Mallory Skarupa as coach, the team finished 21-4, including a 14-game winning streak and being Co-Bull Run District champions.

Scott said the three seniors had a lot to do with the team’s success and with helping him out.

Brooklyn Pumphrey

“They helped me,” Scott said. “I told them they made my first year coaching experience a very pleasurable one, and an exciting one and a successful one.”

In the loss to Greensville County, the trio all played big roles for the Falcons. Fields finished with 14 points, and Phillips added nine. Pumphrey had six rebounds.

The Falcons trailed from the start, but did rally several times and just came up short in the end.

Scott said the three did a good job leading the team all season. Fields said she tried to really step up and be a leader, especially against Greensville County.

“I really felt confident tonight,” Fields said. “I wasn’t bossing people around, but I was assertive and I feel like they really listened and it really helped us.”

Central’s girls basketball program has been solid for the last four years, and Scott said he is excited for the what the future holds. Central’s JV program went undefeated this year, but Scott said he will still miss the three seniors.

For the seniors they were proud to have been a part of seeing the program rise to new heights the last four years.

Phillips said she was happy to have played with Fields and Pumphrey.

“I’ve been friends with them for many years. Playing with them has been just as fun as being their friends,” Phillips said. “Both of them are great players and I loved playing with them. They’re good people on and off the court. It’s going to be hard going our separate ways after graduation, but that’s life. We played our hearts out.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com