Centennial uses tough defense to bounce young Westminster No. 9 Eagles are sluggish, but still win easily, 48-33

Girls basketball

December 11, 1997|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Asked about her team's 48-33 victory last night over visiting Westminster, Centennial guard Michelle Kincaid referred to a comment she had heard minutes earlier from a gentleman near to her heart.

"I think my dad's right," said the Eagles' point guard. "Not very smooth, but effective."

Larry Kincaid made the statement to Centennial coach Dave Greenberg shortly after the ninth-ranked Eagles used an aggressive defense to overcome a poor offense.

"The defense played pretty well," said Greenberg. "Offensively, we struggled, but it's early."

The Eagles (1-1), who got a game-high 16 points from Tia Richardson, made 18 of 60 field-goal attempts and 10 of 25 from the free-throw line.

Westminster (0-3) was having problems of its own. The Owls, who have no starters back from last year, had more turnovers (15) than points (11) in the first half. Westminster didn't make a basket in the second quarter and trailed at halftime, 21-11.

Westminster looked its best during an 6-0 run midway through the third quarter that cut its deficit to eight points. The Owls did shoot better in the second half (8-for-22), but made 15 more turnovers that led to Centennial's 22-point lead with three minutes left.

"We had a lot of turnovers," said Westminster's first-year coach, Sue Conklin. "Centennial is known to play aggressive defense, but at times we weren't making smart decisions offensively.

"We're inexperienced. Getting these kids to believe in themselves and for them to play at a certain level for 32 minutes will be keys for us this year. We had spurts [against Centennial], but their ability to maintain that will be very important."

Junior Kyrica Frisby, who led the Owls with 10 points, said the team must learn to believe in itself.

"People in school have been putting us down, saying we're not that good," said Frisby, who has led her team in scoring all three games. "We've just got to work hard in practice and keep our heads up."

Greenberg said his team played better yesterday than it did in Saturday's 66-26 loss at New York's Christ The King, the preseason national No. 1 in Street & Smith.

"We're happy to get the win, but I think this game showed we need to improve in a lot of areas," Greenberg said.

Kincaid mentioned a few. "We need to be more patient on offense," said Kincaid, who specifically mentioned working on screen plays. "We didn't box out well at all, and we need to do a better job shooting free throws."

Both teams started poorly. Centennial missed its first three shots and had two turnovers before Kincaid scored off an inbounds pass with 5: 46 left.

Pub Date: 12/11/97

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