Senior guard Madison Tritle scored 25 points, as Central City broke open a game that was tight for a quarter, to pull away to a 57-38 win over Edgewood-Colesburg, Dec. 21, in Edgewood.
The Wildcats improved to 4-5 on the season, while Ed-Co dropped its ninth in a row and stands 1-10 heading to a much-needed break, but Viking coach Jenny Lange saw plenty of positives.
“I told the girls after the game that if they continue to give me this effort every night, and we start to clean up a few things, it can lead to winning,” said Lange. “We had a little better game offensively. We had some young players step up and do some good things for us.”
Lange had her team ready to play, and Haley Fitzpatrick’s second basket of the first quarter had the Vikings on top, 15-13, with one minute remaining in the period before Tritle scored from the baseline and hit a late three-pointer to take a 16-15 lead after one.
“Our faster tempo on defense led to some faster offense,” Lange said. “We just put that press in and we’re still working on it. We made some mistakes that allowed them to score, but if we can fine tune things, it should be good for us.”
Freshman Sara Reid’s six points in the second period stretched the Central City advantage to 29-19 at the break, as Ed-Co could manage only a pair of post scores — by Fitzpatrick and Ashley Hogan — in the quarter.
A Bailee Helle three-pointer and another score inside by Fitzpatrick got the Vikings within eight, 32-24, to open the third. Baskets by Ella Aulwes, Chezney Priem and Annie Hoffman sandwiched a three by Tritle to stay in range at 38-31, and it was 44-34 heading to the final period.
When Helle scored on a nice drive with 6:32 remaining, Ed-Co had the momentum and trailed only 44-38. That was as close as it would get, as the Vikings went scoreless the rest of the game to fall by 19 in a contest that was competitive most of the way.
Ed-Co’s statistical leaders were: scoring — Fitzpatrick 10, Hoffman nine, Helle eight, Priem five, Hogan four, Ella Aulwes two; rebounds — Fitzpatrick 10, Hoffman and Priem six, Hogan five, Ella Aulwes and Liz Meisner three, Kelsey Hansel two, Helle one; assists — Ella Aulwes two, Hoffman and Priem one; steals — Lily Aulwes, Priem and Fitzpatrick two, Ella Aulwes, Helle, Hoffman, Hansel and Hogan one; blocks — Hoffman one.
Earlier in the week, North Linn defeated the Vikings, 80-25, in Troy Mills. The Class 2A No. 9 Lynx led 32-10 after a quarter, 55-15 at the half, and 75-15 after three quarters.
“North Linn is an extremely talented and athletic team that is well coached,” said Lange. “We couldn’t keep up with them on the floor. They outran us on almost every play. We played our half-court defense well, we just let them score too many transition points.”
“The Tri-Rivers Conference is a tough basketball conference. If we don’t let things beat us down and cause us to lose confidence it will help us at tournament time,” Lange said. “Anything we see will seem a little slower than we are accustomed to.”
“We’re going to work on the things that will help us get better during the break — attacking the press and shooting — and we’ll give the girls some individual attention that will help them score.”
Ed-Co’s statistical leaders against North Linn were: scoring — Helle nine, Hoffman five, Fitzpatrick and MacKenzie Schmitz four, Hansel three; rebounds — Hoffman seven, Hogan five, Hansel three, Fitzpatrick two, Ella Aulwes, Priem, Helle, Rose Heuchelin and Natalie Wessel one; assists — Heuchelin and Hogan two, Alex Schmitz, Ella Aulwes, Meisner and Fitzpatrick one; steals — Fitzpatrick and Priem two, Alex Schmitz, Ella Aulwes and Hoffman one; blocks — Wessel one.