By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
The St. Joseph Central girls' basketball team is no stranger to playing tough competition in the 2021-22 season.
Raytown (10-2), No. 1 ranked Bishop Meige from Kansas (7-0) and then No. 2 Rock Bridge (10-0) just two days ago were among the toughest tests so far. So, when St. Pius X, a team that's receiving votes in the Class 4 Missouri Basketball Coaches' Association came to the Coliseum Wednesday, Central didn't flinch.
The Indians (8-4) got off to an 8-0 start and never looked back in a 66-47 win over the Warriors on Wednesday night.
The game was a late edition to the schedule for Central after their game at Lee's Summit scheduled for this Thursday got rescheduled to February 1st. The matchup against Pius was announced on Monday afternoon.
"We've played a tough schedule so far this year," Central coach Roger Smith said. "We wanted that for this year. We said in the very beginning that we wanted a tough schedule, because we wanted to be prepared. We've held our own. I'm happy with the way we're playing. I like the intensity we're playing with."
The Indians started quick Wednesday, going up 8-0 in the first 2:46 of the game, and leading 18-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Pius (7-3) made a bit of a charge in the third quarter, getting to within 41-31 with 3:20 left in the third and then 43-34 just a few moments later.
Central ended the third quarter on a 7-1 run, thanks to a flurry of steals and led 50-35 entering the fourth.
Pius made a couple of three-pointers in the final quarter, but 16 points over the final eight minutes was enough for Central to put the game away.
"I liked the way we executed," Smith said. "I thought in the third quarter we finally got into a rhythm again. When we get going offensively, it's going to be fun, because our defense is usually pretty darn good.
"I like the intensity we're playing with. I like my team. They're a lot of fun right now. When kids play that hard, it's fun to coach."
The Indians were led in scoring by senior and Northwest Missouri State basketball commit Ella Moody, who scored a game-high 17 points. Junior Breanna Dudley came off the bench to score 16, while fellow junior Avery Barber also came off the bench and tallied 15 points, including three made three-pointers.
"We made really good open shots to open girls," Barber said. "We just played tough and kept playing good defense and ended up with the win."
Junior Lauren Wells had nine, while junior Charlize Broaden scored eight. Senior Adanna Anikwe led Pius with 15 points. Sophomore Ava Coons finished with 10.
Central will be in action next week at the Basehor-Linwood tournament, which runs Jan. 18-22.
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