Central growing pains: Warriors can’t overcome rough start in loss to Dinos
The Central High School girls basketball team realizes it’s going to be an uphill battle all season.
Thursday at the Wildcat Invitational at Fruita Monument High School, the Warriors (0-3) trailed 25-1 in the first quarter to Carbon, Utah in a 66-22 loss.
“We are talking about winning battles within the war,” Central coach Todd Dixon said. “We have no varsity experience out there except Brittany Hoppe, so at this point we are still getting acclimated to the speed of the game.”
Central kept it close the first six minutes with the Dinos clinging to a 5-0 lead. The Warriors weren’t getting many offensive opportunities because of turnovers, but kept the game within reach.
“We had a nice six-minute period there,” Dixon said. “But once a good shooting team like that gets relaxed, it can get bad in a hurry.”
The Dinos added to their lead, led by Tia Pappas’ eight straight points — including two 3-pointers — to give Carbon a 20-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Carbon kept the pressure on with Pappas making two more 3-pointers.
Pappas had 25 first-half points to give Carbon a 43-9 halftime lead.
“We have to get out of the gate better,” Dixon said. “Hopefully the work we’ve been putting in in practice shows up for four quarters.”
The Warriors had a stronger second half by attacking the hoop and drawing fouls.
Central went 7 of 12 from the free-throw line in the second half.
“In the second half we were trying to penetrate and looking for shots,” Dixon said. “We have to win the free-throw line.”
Hoppe led Central with eight points.
“We have a long way to go, but we’re taking more shots and it’s a step in the right direction,” Hoppe said.
Grand Junction 49, American Fork 38
In the second game of the night, the Tigers (4-2) defeated the No. 3 ranked Class 5A team in Utah.
Grand Junction jumped to an 11-4 lead in the first quarter behind fast-break scores from Stephanie Drake and Paula Lage.
“You can’t go out and have a slow tempo,” Grand Junction forward Fawn Brady said. “We have to go out and get the early lead.”
American Fork worked its way back and tied the game at 13-13 at the end of the first quarter on a Grace Farnsworth 3-pointer.
Grand Junction pushed its lead to 17-13 on baskets from Brady and Lage, but American Fork wouldn’t go away. Farnsworth hit another 3 with less than a minute left in the second quarter to cut the Tigers’ halftime lead to 23-22.
“It was two good teams playing good basketball,” Grand Junction coach Sam Provenza said. “We told them at halftime that you are playing well, they are playing well and let’s keep it going.”
The Tigers had a strong third quarter, led by Drake’s three steals, two assists and four points. Grand Junction pushed its lead to 36-26, holding American Fork to four points in the quarter.
“I’m not sure they ever adjusted to what we were doing defensively,” Provenza said. “Stephanie is relentless defensively and when she gets going she starts getting steals and finding people in space, that’s how we get easy baskets.”
Drake finished with eight points, six assists and five steals.
American Fork made a run in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 42-36, but Grand Junction hit free throws down the stretch.
Brady went 4 for 4 from the line in the quarter and finished with a game high 21 points.
“We weren’t scared,” Brady said. “We played them like a faceless opponent.”