Young Warriors roll past even younger Panthers

This won’t happen often with Central High School’s girls basketball team this season: They won by a landslide.

The Warriors are an extremely young team, starting three sophomores, and they have plenty of learning and developing to do. But they faced an even younger team with much more development in order: Montezuma-Cortez, which has five sophomores and six freshmen on its 14-player varsity roster.

So, Saturday was a mismatch favoring Central, which won its first Southwestern League game of the season, 65-17, by scoring the most points and allowing the fewest points it has through 14 games.

With Montezuma-Cortez offering little challenge, the Warriors (5-9, 1-1) still needed to focus on executing their game and gaining from the experience.

“Any win’s a good win, especially when you play the right way,” Central coach Mary Doane said. “We have to learn how to play great basketball every game, day in and day out, regardless who the opponent is.”

Coming off a loss the night before in which Central was limited to 24 points, the Warriors scored that many points in the second quarter alone en route to a 38-5 halftime lead. Senior Jordan Eller scored nine of her 13 points in the second quarter, and sophomore Taryn Smith scored eight of her team-high 16 points in the frame.

The Warriors got points from 12 players, and Doane liked seeing that balance.

“Our kids played well as a team,” she said. “They shared the ball. It’s important that we share the ball.”

Central also capitalized on frequent turnovers by the Panthers, doing most of its scoring from close range, although Eller and sophomore Tyler Hays both dropped in a 3-pointer.

“We got inside and we took high percentage shots,” Doane said.

The Warriors also got to the foul line and fared well there, making 25 of 35 free throws, paced by Smith’s 10-for-10 showing.


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