Coming into Thursday night's game at Shelbyville, Central High School girls' basketball was one win away from finishing its regular season district schedule undefeated. The Lady Raiders made it look easy, going up early and staying far ahead for a 78-52 victory over the Golden Eaglettes.
"12-0 baby, really wanted to take care of business tonight," Coach Joe Pat Cope said. "Been a long time since someone went 12-0 in District 8-AAA and tonight they got the mission accomplished."
This is the first time the Lady Raiders have stayed undefeated in district play since the 1993 season, the year the team won the state championship.
"It's very exciting. It means we went undefeated in the regular season but we've still got a lot to go," Bella Vinson said. "Hopefully we can keep winning and go far."
Starting with three-pointers from Abby Morgan and Jacey Vaughn, the Lady Raiders went ahead early in the first quarter to take a 20-11 lead. Vinson brought in 10 first quarter points to lead the Lady Raiders out of the gate.
Free throws were key to CHS breaking away further in the second quarter, with Morgan hitting six straight from the line before Ellie Graham buried another two. By halftime, the Lady Raiders had expanded their lead on Shelbyville to 42-22, with 17 of the quarter's 22 points coming from the free throw line.
With 5:50 left on the clock in the third quarter, Vinson buried a three-pointer to put CHS up 47-26. The Lady Raiders didn't let their lead fall below 20 points through the game's remainder. At the end of three, the girls were up 60-29, finishing strong in the fourth to close out the regular season.
Up next for the Lady Raiders is the District 8-AAA Tournament, which the team is scheduled to start on Thursday, Feb. 14. A spot in the region tournament is also looming for the girls following districts.
"We've got to go into practice, work hard," Vinson said. "Keep our heads focused and keep pushing, one game at a time."
Vinson led the way for the Lady Raiders with 21 points. She was followed by Vaughn with 16 points and Morgan with 13. Jenna Garretson finished the night with 10 points, followed by Emma Fulks with 8. Graham had four points, just ahead Kiya Ferrell's three. Keelie Hillis finished the game with two.