Central girls basketball coach Lisa Blalock had a rough first season in the 2011-12 campaign. Her team went 2-19, taking the only loss in school history to rival Southside. It was a difficult season for a team with a young roster. Still, she made it clear to her then-sophomore class she saw promise in the group.
Those sophomores are now her six-member senior class, and her vision is coming to fruition. The Bearcats defeated the Rebels 82-25 on Friday in Muncie Fieldhouse, picking up their second consecutive win in the rivalry series. With the two schools consolidating next season, it was the last scheduled game in the series.
Blalock’s team controlled it from the start, improving to 11-3 on the season.
“What they have been through, just as a class of seniors, has been very special,” Blalock said. “What they’ve been able to do, and what they’ve been a part of. How far we’ve come from that year. We’ve kind of flip-flopped our record since that season, at least at this point. They are just a huge part of it.”
The Bearcats quickly applied their pressure defense, forcing 16 Rebel turnovers in the first quarter and 40 for the game. By the end of the first quarter, Central led 26-6. One of those seniors, Deriana Carter, scored 13 points in the first quarter to help her team pull away. She finished the game with 15 points.
Since those seniors went through their difficult sophomore season, they’ve also seen key additions. Sophomore Jayla Scaife, the Bearcats’ leading scorer this season, scored 22 points on Friday, a game high.
“With Scaife and that group, that definitely changes things,” Southside coach Ryan New said. “I think a lot of people overlook, perhaps, people like Jessica Rowe. Rowe is an outstanding player, and she was two years ago when we beat them. She was the major player then, that we tried to stop. What an advantage when people have to focus so hard on Scaife, that perhaps she goes under the radar a bit. I think Rowe’s an outstanding player.”
Rowe, a senior, scored six points on Friday, as did classmate Madelyn Beaver. And another senior, Mo Rammel, scored eight points.
“It’s really special when you think about the series as a whole, the school, the schools, just the legacy that’s involved in all this,” Blalock said. “And just to be involved in this last game I think is really special. And seeing the crowd out there. At the beginning of the game I was just trying to take it all in and enjoy the moment.”
Becky Mann paced Southside with eight points. Alayz’a Wright and Sharra Elliott each scored six points for the Rebels.