February 24th, 2011

Central's Edge On Glass Downs Toppers

Paul Najjar

CSN Staff Writer

Central's Edge On Glass Downs Toppers
photo courtesy of Gary Householder

Yellowjackets' 24 off. boards leads them to district crown     

A tense battle was staged for the District 23 championship at the Central high school gym Thursday evening as the home-standing Lady Yellowjackets defeated the visiting Presentation Toppers 59-51.


The game was close throughout as the largest lead of the game, nine points, was achieved with just seconds left in the game by Central.


Central’s press created turnovers early and often as they took an 8-2 lead through the first five minutes of the game. But the Toppers settled into the flow of the full court, up-and-down action, started to attack the Central press and found some easy baskets. After giving the ball away eight times in the first quarter, Presentation was happy to be down just 10-8.


“We were really tight in the first five minutes, but after that we handled the ball fairly well and we cut down our turnovers considerably after that,” said Toppers coach David Jackson. “We had to attack their defense, get the ball to the middle of the court and go score on them when they’re pressing like that. We did it quite well for a while. It was good that we continued to attack the rim and get some points off of our press break.”


Second quarter scoring punch for the Toppers was a team effort as junior Shelby Adams and sophomore Peyton Andres scored two buckets each, along with junior Bailey Reeder’s three-pointer and two points apiece from senior Rachel Russ, sophomore Meredith Regner and freshman Hannah Stevens. The Toppers moved the ball effectively during the highly entertaining quarter of ball as both teams played end-to-end without hesitation.


Both teams had difficulty making shots and that placed much more emphasis on rebounding. Central took 64 shots and made only 25 (39 percent), but they had 24 offensive rebounds and had several possessions with multiple opportunities for a score. They held the Toppers to just 19-56 shooting from the field (34 percent). With all of those missed shots, Central’s rebounding margin of 47-38 proved to be the difference.


“They really killed us on the boards. They had 20 offensive rebounds in the second half and that hurt us,” said coach Jackson. “Giving them so many chances after they missed so many shots was tough on us. They really went to the glass hard. Part of it was their quickness inside as they’d just out-quick or out-run us to the ball.”


Down four early in the third quarter, Presentation reeled off a quick five points as junior Ashlee Kirchner scored on a put-back to give the Toppers their last lead of the game at 36-35. But a few ill-timed turnovers at the end of the quarter allowed the Jackets to resume control and go up 42-38.


Presentation started the fourth quarter with swarming on defense and committing to keeping Central from second chances. Andres and Reeder notched back-to-back three point plays (old-fashioned style) and when Adams converted two free throws, the Toppers found themselves tied at 48 with just over four minutes to go.


But Central’s Brianna Averette was the catalyst for the Yellowjackets the rest of the way. The district tournament MOP dictated the pace and set up her mates with deft ball control and passing. And Central took advantage of some Presentation fatigue as they crashed the boards late in the game and kept coming up with loose balls all over the court. They outscored Presentation 11-3 in those last four minutes to secure the win.


Averette scored 13 points and dished out 5 assists on the evening. Teammate Jarea Brice was the game’s high scorer with 15 and Nikcoa Jackson registered 10.


Presentation was led by Adams’ 12 points and Andres’ 10, while Reeder and Russ scored 9 apiece. Reeder and Russ were also named to the District 23 All-Tournament Team.


Both teams await the Regional draw to see who they will face next. The draw is set for Saturday. Be sure to check back with us for the full schedule of Regional games including the matchups for Mercy, Sacred Heart and Presentation.



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