Defensive intensity helps Central girls roll past Montezuma-Cortez

A group of primarily second-string players for the Central High School girls basketball team held winless Montezuma-Cortez to two points in the third quarter Friday as the Warriors routed the Panthers 43-16 in a Southwestern League contest.

Central limited Montezuma-Cortez to single-digit scoring until midway through the fourth quarter, and coach Mary Doane said although the Warriors (5-14, 2-4 SWL) committed too many fouls, the final result is impressive.

“Disciplined would mean we didn’t put them at the free-throw line, but it was a good defensive effort, and it’s hard to argue with the scoreboard,” Doane said. “I do believe our kids can still get better on the defensive end.

“We’ve been talking about it a lot, and our team thought this week that victory is always within reach of a strong defensive team. That’s what we’ve been focused on this week, along with rebounding, and hopefully we can keep this up.”

Sierra Batchelor, a freshman, started for the Warriors at point guard and spearheaded the defensive effort with strong on-ball pressure that caused errant passes by the Panthers. In total, the Warriors caused 31 turnovers, and Batchelor credited that to a strong team mentality.

“Well, our team works really hard, and we’re always working together on defense,” Batchelor said. “We know that we have each other’s backs if one of us gets lost on defense, so we’re able to recover and play team defense.”

On offense, Taryn Smith and Tyler Hays paced the Warriors with nine points each. D’Kota Brodie added seven points and pulled down 14 rebounds. Doane said Brodie established her physicality down low and shored up her positioning in gathering rebounds.

Doane added the Warriors demonstrated some of the best team basketball she’s seen this season.

Smith agreed, saying the win is a big step for Central’s offense.

“We shoot the ball a lot in practice, and we’ve worked on (our offense) a lot as well,” Smith said. “We played a lot better as a team offensively than we did (the last time we played Cortez). It was a big confidence booster for us.”


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