CENTERBURG — The Centerburg High School girls basketball team put on a clinic at home versus the East Knox High School squad Saturday. The Trojans dominated the action from the opening jump and thumped the Bulldogs, 57-36.
“I told the kids coming in that we had to be ready to play,” said Centerburg head coach Todd Nauman. “East Knox, like us, has been scratching and fighting for every win they can get during the course of the season. We barely escaped with an overtime win the first time down there.”
The results of this contest were much different. Centerburg (7-6, 6-3 Mid-Buckeye Conference) jumped out to a huge lead in the first quarter and led 8-3 before East Knox (3-11, 1-9 MBC) got the game to within one point, 8-7. Centerburg then rolled right over the Bulldogs, finishing the quarter on a 6-0 run to double up East Knox, 14-7.
The second quarter saw much of the same as Centerburg continued to drain its shots and East Knox struggled to get any sort of offense going. The Bulldogs managed just four second-quarter points to Centerburg’s 12, and by halftime, the Trojans’ lead had grown to 15 points, 26-11.
“It wasn’t real pretty out there all the time,” Nauman said. “We were able to play our style and keep the heat on them. We controlled the tempo of the game. I was really surprised at halftime to be up by 15 points on the Bulldogs.”
The second half was not much better for the Bulldogs as the Trojans continued to pour it on. They rattled off the first six points of the third quarter before East Knox hit 1-of-2 free throws. Centerburg then picked right up where it began the quarter and scored another six unanswered points. At the end of three, Centerburg had the game in the bag, 42-20.
“We have played some really good defense in the last three or four ballgames,” said Nauman. “We have been able to control some scorers. No one scored in double digits against us today. We played tremendous. Our defense has stepped us for us in the last few ballgames.”
The fourth quarter saw a majority of junior varsity players get some much needed playing time as the outcome was well decided. East Knox had its best scoring quarter with 16 points, but Centerburg scored 15 fourth-quarter points and easily handed the Bulldogs their worst conference loss of the season.
East Knox was unable to find the basket in the contest. Poor shoot selection and unlucky bounces cost the Bulldogs momentum, confidence and eventually the game. Still, the Bulldogs saw some impressive play from the younger players who were able to get some much needed varsity experience.
“Our two leading scorers shot 3-for-23 today,” said East Knox coach Daryl Uhde. “There is not much you can do there. We had a really poor shooting day. This is disappointing; it’s one of those forgettable games. The positive thing is our junior varsity team came in and did a really good job. It’s always good to get our young kids some varsity experience. I am really high on our young kids.”
Centerburg is continuing to impress as they have made a significant turn-around from their early season start. Nauman is very pleased with what he has seen out of a young team still learning every game.
“When we started this season out, everyone looked at us as we were, young and inexperienced,” Nauman said. “We have worked hard at various aspects of the game to help us through that. I have told the kids I am so proud of them. They have worked so hard to do what we have asked them to do, whether it is on offense or defense. The kids are doing a great job of working together.”
Centerburg was led by Camaranne Myles, who tallied 13 points. Megan Hartley added 10 points and Claire Harvey scored six points.
The Bulldogs were led by Sierra Mazzaro, Bria Knight and Jill Regal, all of whom scored five points.
In junior varsity play, East Knox defeated Centerburg, 42-40. Haley Gray had 10 points for the Bulldogs while Liz Tullos and Regal had nine apiece. Centerburg’s leader was Meghan Altizer with 12 points and Kayla Peck had nine points.
Both teams are back in action Thursday with East Knox hosting Northridge and Centerburg hosting Utica.