By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
The Lady Indians (10-1) picked up their eighth-straight win Thursday, 58-41 over Butler (7-4) in the opening round of the Gateway Holiday Classic at Montgomery County High School.
Central used some red-hot shooting, 56.5 percent, and a surprise zone defense to take control of the game early.
The Lady Indians took the lead for good on back-to-back three-pointers by Ashton Feldhaus and Bailey O’Bryan five minutes into the game.
The strong inside play of Feldhaus and Shadae Bosley helped the Lady Indians turn a three-point first-quarter lead into a 15-point spread, 36-21 at the half.
Feldhaus had 10 points in the second quarter, including her third and fourth three-pointers of the game, while Bosley added six in the quarter, and the two dominated the backboards.
“This is probably the best two quarters we’ve had all year. Coming in to the half shooting 56 percent from the field, you are going to be happy, especially against a Top 10 team like Ballard. It is a good victory for us,” Central coach Robbie Cooksey said. “If you typically watch us, we play a man-to-man, you’re not expecting a 2-1-2 or a 2-3 zone and I think it surprised them a little. I think after the first couple of plays we figured that they probably had a little more athletic team than we could handle tonight defending them man-to-man, but our zone was really effective.”
The Lady Indians came out a little sluggish to begin the second half and Butler cut the lead to 11 at 38-27 the first three minutes of the half.
But the Central offense got cranked up again thanks to the strong play of point-guard Larryn Brooks, who had nine points in the quarter, and Bosley and Feldhaus once again controlled the backboard and the Lady Indians built their lead back to 18 at 49-31 at the end of the third quarter and never let Butler get any closer.
Feldhaus led all scorers in the game with 20 points and also pulled down 12 rebounds. Brooks finished with 19 points, five assists and three steals, while Bosley chipped in with eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Bailey O’Bryan had six points and Heather Hinkle had five.
Cooksey said he was especially happy with the play of Bosley and Feldhaus in the paint.
“I thought Ashton played really well. She was 8-of-12 from the field and had 20 points and had 12 rebounds and Shadae was huge with eight points and 13 rebounds,” Cooksey said. “When we can get those two to rebound like that underneath and Larryn get 19 points from the point, we’re going to be in pretty good shape.”
The Lady Indians finished the game shooting 54.3 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from behind the arc, but were only 15-of-25 for 60 percent from the free throw line. The Central defense limited Butler to 30 percent shooting from the field and only 12.5 percent from behind the three-point line.
Central, whose only loss of the season was to top-ranked Marion County, will play tournament host Montgomery County at 8 p.m. today in the semifinals of the Gateway Holiday Classic.