The Central High girls basketball team put on a clinic on Friday night at home, scoring the game's first 10 points, never trailing and, ultimately, defeating Auburn 55-36.
The win is the Lady Red Devils' second in Class 6A Area 5 play and, according to coach Carolyn Wright, was a sign of the team's improving patience.
"We try to teach them to be patient," Wright said. "They're a young team and they play like they're behind often. They kind of rush it. But tonight, I felt like we played great defense and took our time finding good looks at the other end."
Patient or not, the team still came out of the chute fast.
Central (12-7, 2-1) went on a 10-0 run before the Lady Tigers got their first bucket with three minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Auburn scored the next six points to get within four with just 39 seconds remaining in the first quarter, but that was the closest it got for the rest of the contest.
Behind its strong defense and precision shooting at the other end, Central built an eight-point lead after one, a nine-point lead at the half and an insurmountable 47-25 lead after three quarters.
A chunk of that third-quarter charge was led by Keosha Glance, who hit back-to-back three-pointers to spur a 15-0 run for the Lady Red Devils. The team led by 10 at 32-22 before Glance's two long-range jumpers. At the end of the run, it was 47-22 and the fourth quarter was a mere formality.
"We have some great shooters if they have time," Wright said. "Tonight, we took our time, penetrated and were able to kick it out for some open looks."
Glance finished with a team-high 10 points, a modest amount when considering the margin of victory. Central played a balanced game, however, in which nine different players registered points.
Keaundra Cox was second on the team with eight points and Jimecheia Banks added seven.
Wright said that her team doesn't have a whole lot of depth, but that it was able to learn a lot about what to do on Friday night.
"We really learned what we need to do to be successful," she said. "We need to attack the basket and get some easy baskets. As we move further into region play, we need to stay more patient."
Auburn was led by its two main scorers but didn't register much offense outside of them. Starr Taylor scored a game-high 16 points and Dana Echols added nine. The next-highest scorer had four points.
"We did a great job on defense," Wright said. "Winning this game helps a lot. It's one of our area games. Of course, we don't take any game lightly, but it's good to get a win in this one."
CENTRAL 76, AUBURN 58
The Central boys did their best to match the girls' performance, falling one point shy of matching their margin of victory.
The Red Devils (15-5, 2-1), like their female counterparts, used a dominating third quarter to take a commanding lead and eventually win 76-58 on Friday at home.
Anthony Moore scored 10 of his 19 points in the quarter, including a stretch where he scored eight consecutive points for his team.
In all, Central outscored Auburn 24-14 in the quarter, extending a nine-point halftime lead to 19 after three.
Coach Bobby Wright said he was happy to see his team put together what he considered to be its best effort of the season.
"They played as well as they have all year," he said after the game. "We're a young, inexperienced team, and I'm excited for them to be able to come out and play well like they did tonight."
Wright said that he hoped the beginning of more success going forward.
"This was supposed to be, maybe, a rebuilding year," he said. "But we're playing well right now. They really want to prove they can do something special like some of the past teams."
Central had three scorers with high point totals on Friday night. Moore scored 19, Ronnie Battle had 20 and Devin Pugh had 18. Wright said that a team that has three guys it can rely on has a chance to win a lot of games.
"If you've got three guys in double-figures every night, you'll win a lot," he said.
Friday at Central
Auburn 6 12 7 11--36
Central 14 13 20 8--55
Taylor 16, Echols 9, Willis 4, McLawhorn 2, M. Brooks 2, S. Brooks 2, Johnson 1.
Glance 10, Cox 8, Banks 7, Hickson 6, Beasley 6, Spencer 6, Hicks 5, Ficklin 2, Faniel 2.
Team records: Central, 12-7, 2-1. Next: Central, Friday vs. Smiths Station
Friday at Central
Auburn 12 11 14 21--58
Central 15 17 24 20--76
Tolbert 16, Daniels 14, Allen 10, Johnson 8, Nulls 7, Riggs 2, Ferguson 1.
Battle 20, Moore 19, Pugh 18, Roger 5, Lamb 4, Lindsey 4, Jackson 3, Dix 2, Pridgette 1.
Team records: Central, 15-5, 2-1. Next: Central, Friday vs. Smiths Station.