Central girls want make a good postseason run
The Central girls basketball team has its eyes set on being one of the final eight teams.
To get there, the Warriors will have to first get by No. 6-seeded Ponderosa tonight in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.
The Mustangs defeated Smoky Hill 49-30 on Wednesday night to set up the game with Central. So while Ponderosa has been on the court, Central has been stuck in its gym, awaiting tonight’s game.
“You know it is an advantage to have that week of practice, but we are so antsy to get playing,” Central coach Todd Dixon said. “We got the draw and seed we wanted, but now we want to get onto the floor and get after it.”
Dixon, in his first season as Warriors coach, has had his team working toward a big postseason.
“Even at the point when we played Rifle in the first game of the season, we were thinking about what will need to do be a team that can get to that final eight,” Dixon said. “I think we are close, but hopefully we can get through this game first.”
To the Warriors’ credit, they have improved all season. A big part of that has been the team’s effort on the defensive end of the floor.
In Central’s regular-season finale against Montrose, a No. 1 seed in the 4A bracket, the Warriors held the Indians to 36 points — including two points in a decisive third quarter that led to Central’s 40-36 win.
“As well as played against Montrose defensively, we have to get better if we want to play with the Arapahoes and Horizons,” Dixon said. “So this week, we are working on becoming a better team defensively than we were against Montrose.”
What makes the Warriors a dangerous defensive team is their versatile personnel. Post player Haleigh Higgins has the ability to guard any player on the court, Amy Kame provides a shot blocking presence and Stacy Kinnett and Ashley Paul are two guards who can play pressure defense without fouling.
“When we are off of our offensive game, we can rely on playing good defense to help us stay in games,” Paul said. “(Defensively) we try to put pressure on every possession.”
Central has allowed 60 points once this season and averaged 43 points allowed during the Southwestern League season. But the Warriors are not all defense. Kame leads the team offensively, averaging 23 points per game. For Dixon, a key in the postseason will be putting it all together.
“All season we have worked on staying relaxed and staying patient,” Dixon said. “Not worrying about getting down and trying to make up deficits in quick amounts of time. It is important we stay calm.”
The Warriors will attempt to do that against a Ponderosa team that comes in with a 14-8 record. The Mustangs play in the difficult Continental League, which also includes three of the four No. 1 seeds (ThunderRidge, Highlands Ranch and Regis).
Ponderosa started the year 10-1 before a difficult league season.