Lady Blue Devils end Central’s run

Published 12:48 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2017

It was a season of growth for Central High School’s varsity girls basketball team, and the fact that the year ended in the Conference 42 tournament semifinals rather than the quarterfinals was evidence of that.

Through 16 minutes of play on Feb. 15, it looked like the third-seeded Lady Chargers might be in position for a semifinal upset of host No. 2 Mathews High School.

“It was a tale of two halves,” Central Head Coach Scott Wilson said, as his team trailed by only three points at halftime. “It was 20-17. We led after the first quarter 11-10, so we were feeling great at halftime.”

But the Lady Blue Devils went on to win the third quarter 17-8, making the score 37-25.

“Mathews’ 1-3-1 zone (defense) kicked it up a notch in the second half,” Wilson said.

The Lady Chargers were held scoreless in the fourth quarter, as their hosts pulled away for a 47-25 victory.

Wilson said the Lady Blue Devils’ defense took Central out of its offensive game plan.

“They held us to a lot of one-shot opportunities, and they got some key steals that led up to some easy baskets,” he said.

Senior forward/guard Dominique Turman-Watson led Central with seven points in the game.

The Lady Chargers finished the 2016-17 season with a record of 9-11, an improvement on their 5-13 finish in the 2015-16 season when they lost in the first round of the conference tournament.

“Obviously, any team’s goal at the beginning of the season is to win the conference championship and advance,” Wilson said. “While we did not do that, we did make it around further in the conference play, so I’m pleased by that.”

Central defeated No. 6 Charles City County High School 55-47 in the conference tournament quarterfinals this year.

“I was very fortunate with the group of girls that I had this season,” Wilson said. “I’m losing six seniors, which does include the starting five.”

Graduating after this year will be Turman-Watson, guard TanJaNeKa White-Freeman, forward Ashley Genova, forward/center MyYonte’ Jennings, guard Brittany Dolan and forward Kayla Anthony.

With the returning players, both at the varsity and junior varsity (JV) levels, Wilson said he hopes the team will carry the foundation of growth established this year into next season.

“We had the highest number of girls in our program in several years, and so with advancing a little bit further in the playoffs, talking to the returning girls, they’re real excited about next season,” he said.

Wilson said that he and the JV girls coach, Thomas Collins, run quite similar systems, so JV players that move up to varsity next season can pick up where they left off in a lot of ways.