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home : sports : sports Monday, May 2, 2016

1/26/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Central freshman Amanda Brainerd shoots a jumper during the second half of the Sabers’ game with West Delaware last week. Brainerd scored seven of her nine points in the second half of Central’s game with Anamosa, Tuesday night, as the Sabers made up a nine-point deficit against the Blue Raiders, thanks in large part to a defensive effort that limited the hosts to four second half points. Photo by Ross Eberhart
Second half belongs to Sabers in low-scoring victory

By Ross Eberhart
Sports editor

With points hard to come by and trailing by nine in the third quarter, the Central girls basketball team knew it was not going to make up the deficit in one fell swoop.

Fortunately, an incredible defensive effort made sure the Sabers had plenty of time to make their move.

Down to WaMaC East foe Anamosa, 20-11, with six minutes left in the third quarter of Tuesday night's game, Central proceeded to score the game's next 11 points to take a 22-20 lead.

A team making up a nine-point deficit is certainly not unusual - runs happen.

The Sabers, though, made up their deficit in a span of 12 minutes, thanks to a sterling effort on defense that kept the Blue Raiders scoreless for that entire stretch.

Now down two, Anamosa finally broke out of its funk with a free throw to make it 22-21.

The Sabers, though, iced the game with two free throws and a three-point attempt by the Blue Raiders at the buzzer missed its mark, giving Central a memorable 24-21 victory.

"The low score is really because of our defense," Central head coach Mark Kurtz said. "They (the Blue Raiders) run a flex offense and we spent some time over Christmas, and then again in our practice on Monday, going over how to defend that defense.

"We really bogged them down and Anamosa did not force up shots. When we stopped their initial offense in the past, they would still put up a shot; Tuesday, they were more patient, almost to their detriment," Kurtz added. "It is a credit to our kids that they stayed disciplined on defense and did not have any breakdowns."

Anamosa held a six-point lead at the break and Central looked to be in deep trouble when the Blue Raiders added to their advantage with a banked-in three-pointer.

That three, though, would turn out to be the Blue Raiders' final field goal of the game as Central began its long march to take the lead.

The Sabers were actually held scoreless for the first five minutes of the second half before knocking down a pair of baskets in the span of a minute to cut the deficit to five.

Central added another hoop with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter, and the lead was down to 20-17 as the two teams headed to the fourth.

The Sabers kept coming as Amanda Brainerd started the final quarter with a free throw to pull the visitors within two.

Central, though, also went cold on the offensive side of the ball and the margin was still two with four minutes remaining in the game.

Fortunately, the Sabers finally broke the stalemate with a bucket inside to tie things up at 20-20, and then added another hoop a short time later to complete the comeback.

Anamosa had an opportunity to tie things up with just over a minute remaining, but Tawny Menster was only able to hit one of her two free throw attempts.

The Blue Raiders were then forced to foul and they put freshman Hailey Saunders at the line for a one-and-one.

Coolly, Saunders made her first shot and then gave Central a three-point lead by hitting the second as well.

"Hailey really stepped up and knocked down a pair of big free throws for us," Kurtz said.

Anamosa was able to get off a three-point attempt from the corner before the horn went off, but the shot missed its mark and the Sabers were able to pick up their second-straight win.

The Blue Raiders finished the game with just seven field goals and three of them came in the first quarter, as Anamosa used a pair of threes and another hoop to jump out to an 8-4 lead.

Central got a three-point play from Miranda Meland to start the second quarter and then scored again to take a brief 9-8 lead.

The Sabers, though, would score just one other time in the quarter as Anamosa outscored Central 9-2 over the final five minutes of the first half to take a 17-11 lead at halftime.

Brainerd led the way for the Sabers with nine points to go with a team-high 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.

Meland added seven points of her own, while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out a team-best three assists.

Brittany McNamara added four points with Saunders and Stephanie Schrader both coming up with two.

Gretchen Henningsen and Abby Willis both had three rebounds in the game with the latter also coming up with a steal.

Coming up with her own steal was freshman Allison Keitel, who was also singled out by Kurtz for her defense against Anamosa's leading scorer, Nicole Sanborn.

"Allison did a great job on Sanborn, staying in front of her and keeping a hand in her face," Kurtz said. "She averages about 12 or 13 points per game and she only had two against us."

The 21 points were the lowest allowed by a Saber squad since the 2010-11 team limited Dyersville Beckman to just 20 points in a February victory over the Blazers.

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