1.5 central girls

The Lady Indians won't have to wait too long to see how they match up with the rest of the 44th District.

They play all three of their in-county rivals in the first five days of the season.

"We will see how good we are by Friday," Madison Central coach Brad Lovely said of his team's schedule.

The Lady Indians looked pretty good on Monday in the season opener.

Central had 10 players record at least a point and used a dominant second half to pick up a 66-29 win over Model Laboratory at home. The Lady Indians led by just three points at halftime before limiting the Lady Patriots to just two field goals and nine total points in the final two quarters.

Senior Brianna Bierbaum had a team-best 12 points and added five rebounds, while Tiana Long had nine points off the bench.

"It was nerve-racking," Bierbaum said of the season opener. "We haven't played a game in so long. It's been almost a year. We were really looking forward to this."

The Lady Indians won the 44th District Tournament title last season, but graduated a pair of 1,000-point scorers.

Central brings back four seniors from that team — including starters Bierbaum, Gretchen Hammit and Raelynn Miller — but most of the rest of the roster is made up of sophomores, freshmen and middle schoolers.

"We have some varsity experience back, but not much," Bierbaum said. "We are working hard and we want (to do well) this season as much as anyone else."

Model returned four starters from a team that won 19 games last season.

However, the Lady Indians used an early 10-0 run, fueled by three-pointers from Eve Carter and Bierbaum to take the lead for good.

A three-pointer by Chloe Freeman gave Central a 13-3 advantage.

Model pulled to within two points (13-11) on a Emma Lawson basket near the end of the first quarter. The Lady Patriots closed the first half on a 5-0 run that cut their deficit to 23-20.

"We were a little rusty," Lovely said. "A little nervous. We have a bunch of kids out there who haven't played a bunch of minutes."

Central shook off the nerves in the third quarter, out-scoring Model 25-6. The Lady Patriots were 2-of-9 from the field and 2-of-6 from the line as the Lady Indians took control.

In the second half, Central's younger players took center stage.

Freshman Bailey Hensley had 13 rebounds and six points in 13 minutes. Freshman Eden Carter had eight points and freshman Olivia Metcalfe had eight points in nine minutes of action.

"They are learning to play and hopefully by the end of the season we will get a little taller," Lovely said with a laugh.

Central shot 38 percent from the field, including 6-of-24 from three-point range. The Lady Indians were 8-of-16 from the free throw line and forced 30 turnovers.

Model shot 24 percent from the field and was 1-of-13 from three-point range and 10-of-26 from the line.

Keaton Hall had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Lady Patriots. Taylor LeCompte (seven rebounds) and McKenna Tuttle had eight points each. Kenzie Ferguson had three points, Lawson had two points and Alyssa Hudson had one point.

Freeman had seven points for Central. Raelynn Miller had six points. Eve Carter had five points. Brittany Campbell had three points and Nataya Strader had two points.

Central is set to return to action today at Menifee County. The Lady Indians will then play host to district rival Berea Community on Wednesday and Madison Southern on Friday.

"It's going to be hard to play four games in five days, but we will get through it," Bierbaum said.

Model is set to return to action today at Burgin.

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