Madison Central had a message to send to cross-county and district rival Madison Southern — not again.

The Lady Indians (8-7) were three-time defending champions when the Lady Eagles (6-8) knocked them off, 51-49, on a last-second shot by Nikki Jeck in the first round of the 44th District Tournament this past March.

A regular-season rematch Monday told a vastly different story. Central opened an early lead behind its signature full-court pressure and never looked back on the way to a 77-42 win.

“(The loss) absolutely crushed me,” Lady Indian senior Mia Adams said. “So yeah we wanted to send a message. They don’t have a hope this year. If they think we beat them bad now just wait to we play them again. It will be double this.”

Adams was part of the tandem coach Guy Gandolfo used to hound Jeck, Southern’s all-time leading female scorer. And that strategy worked.

The senior didn’t have a field goal until 41 seconds left before halftime. The guard finished three-of-16 from the field, but did go seven-of-10 from the foul line to lead the Lady Eagles with 14 points.

“I did get frustrated,” Jeck said. “I shouldn’t, being the senior leader, but it’s all mental. I missed shots I normally make and frustration set in.”

Adding to the aggravation was that the Lady Indians full-court press forced 12 first-half turnovers and 21 for the game. Central converted those miscues into 30 points.

“That was the difference in the game,” Southern coach Brian Cunigan said. “They turned us over and took us out of everything. They dominated the game.”

Christina Ciolek was the early benefactor of the press. The sophomore guard had 11 of her team’s first 15 points. Kayla Sharp, who finished with four points, was the first Lady Indian other than Ciolek to have a field goal in the first quarter. Brislyn Sizemore, on her way to recording a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds), also had two free throws in that eight minutes.

“I told them we could see them again in the district tournament and it was important to come out tonight with intensity,” Gandolfo said. “I really think Christina set the tone for us early. She made some key steals and passes and it snowballed from there.”

The Lady Indians had 11 players score led by Jenna Cornelison’s 17 points. Iesha Farris scored six points, but also had eight of the team’s 21 assists.

Erika Parks finished with seven points, Briana Johnson had five points, Lyndsay Jones had four points, Rachel Cox had three points and Markita Wilson and Kaity Busch added two points each.

One bright spot for the Lady Eagles was the return of senior Alaina Hammonds. She had nine points on four-of-seven shooting in her first action since Dec. 20.

Brittany Calhoun, eight points; Kassie Damrell, four points; Candace Himes, three points; and Tish Wheeler and Rachel Evans, two points each, rounded out the scoring for the Lady Eagles.

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