Photo by Tim Weight
By Kenny Varner
Mill Hall – Defenses took center stage Monday night at Central Mountain High School where both the Lady Wildcats and up and coming Bellefonte put the clamp on the others offense for most of the contest.
In the end, the constant pressure and a very effective full court press was too much for the Red Raiders as Central Mountain won the contest 37-22.
“I thought we hustled in the first half. But I actually thought our defense did better in the second half. From a technical stand point I thought we execute better in the second half than the first“ said Central Mountain coach Scott Baker. “I think that is where we were able to get some separation from them.”
Leading the way for the Lady Wildcats was the aggressive prowess of Tara Mader. Mader finished with a game-high 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals in the win.
Teammate Taylor Doyle finished with six points and eight rebounds.
For Bellefonte, Emma Rossman was persistent in the rebound department, pulling down 11 rebounds.
Leading the offensive punch for the Lady Raiders were Maria Cotter and Madison Ripka both with eight.
“I’m very proud of my defense. I told the girls that they played very good defense to win the game today. It’s just the shots just didn’t go down tonight,” said Bellefonte coach Marcus Toomer. “There were at least 10-15 wide open shots that we would make in practice. We just didn’t make them today.”
Central Mountain held the edge in the rebound department by a 40-26 margin.
From the opening tip, both teams’ defenses went right to work.
The two combined to score 10 total points in the opening stanza.
Getting the scoring started was Doyle as she drove down the court and layed it in off of a steal from Kiahna Jones steal.
Minutes later, Mader stole the ball and finished things off with a lay up, making it a 4-0 contest.
With 4:35 left in the first, Doyle scored again taking it strong to the hoop.
Mader got her fourth point with the quarter winding down. She also posted up inside for the bucket and the 8-point advantage.
With just 1:20 left in the period, Sydney Hamilton hit a long jumper, cutting it to a 9-2 contest.
In the second quarter, Bellefonte started to warm up its offense and was able to notch seven points in the period.
However, Central Mountain would add 10 in the period to take a 19-9 advantage going into the intermission.
Ripka led Bellefonte with five while Central Mountain was led by Mader with four.
After coming out of the intermission, the Wildcats added an extra degree of difficulty for Bellefonte as its defense was on shut down mode, refusing to allow a point in the period.
Bellefonte held the Wildcats to just 10 in the period to go down by 20 at 29-9.
Mader would be the driving force offensively in the third, posting eight of the team’s 10.
In the final stanza, the Lady Raiders refused to go down without a fight as they were able to outscore Central Mountain 13-8, to pull within 15 as the final buzzer sounded.
In JV action, the two teams played a nail biting thriller that would go to an overtime period before Central Mountain would muscle out a 23-20 victory.