Central beats rival Fruita Monument in battle of scrappy teams

Central’s Haleigh Higgins breaks away during Friday night’s game against Fruita Monument in Fruita.

Friday night produced one of the Central girls basketball team’s more uncomfortable 18-point wins of the season.

The Warriors were forced to overcome foul trouble by riding a big second quarter to their 54-36 victory over Fruita Monument.

“Fruita comes out strong and scrappy,” Central’s Amy Kame said. “We do that too, so it clashed tonight.”

Central took a 10-8 first-quarter lead, but the Wildcats took it back early in the second, gaining a 12-10 advantage off of jumper by Taylor Johnson. After that,  the Warriors figured that was enough points for the Wildcats in the quarter.

Central put the clamps down and outscored Fruita 16-1 the rest of the way.

“We went into a 1-3-1 trap and they started to throw the ball away,” Kame said. “That
helped us get into a rhythm.”

The Wildcats made a run in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 30-24 with three minutes left, but five straight points from Kame pushed the Warriors’ lead back to 11.

“Our whole philosophy is to jump out early and we didn’t do that tonight,” Dixon said. “We got frustrated but it was a good lesson, because I thought we did a good job after they would make their runs (of settling down).”

Fruita gave the Warriors a tough game but couldn’t keep seem to find consistent scoring.

“We couldn’t shoot the ball tonight,” Fruita coach Dan Schmalz said. “We missed a ton of open shots. We had good looks, but just missed the shots.”

The fourth quarter was spent at the foul line. Both teams combined to shoot 29 free throws in the quarter. For Fruita, it was a frustrating loss after two straight home wins.

“It is not like Central is that much better, they just made some shots, and we if we could have hit a couple shots we would have been fine,” Schmalz said. “We would work hard to get it close, then go into another funk, then the lead was back to 18.”

The Warriors were able to play through foul trouble. Three of their top scorers, Kame,

Haleigh Higgins and Karen Hayter, all had to sit more time than usual with three or more fouls. Central coach Todd Dixon said he was proud of the job the reserve players did.

“When Karen and Amy were in foul trouble we had some bench players keep us about 8 to 10 points above Fruita,” Dixon said. “Taylor Else hit a big shot, Brittany Hoppe and Laura Joy both did a good job of keeping us moving.”

Kame led the way with 23 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks. Higgins added 15 points.

Taylor Johnson led Fruita with nine points.

Central plays Tuesday at Grand Junction on Tuesday. and Fruita Monument travels to Montrose.


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