Central girls continue basketball dominance heading into winter break

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Central senior Delaney Scherf scored her 1,000th career point last week. She’s pictured with students Lizzie Royer, Jaydin Dettman, Peyton Finley, Katelyn Scherf and Karleigh Thorson. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Hannah Asche works past a Turkey Valley defender in Central’s 70-40 win on Dec. 20.

Grace Kuehl tries to snag a steal in the win over Ed-Co.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


The Central girls basketball team heads into the holiday break undefeated at 7-0, and while the Warriors will be eyeing visions of sugar plums and presents, the record sets the Warriors up nicely for something they haven’t achieved since the Jimmy Carter administration: winning the Upper Iowa Conference championship.


That, of course, rests squarely on whether or not the team can continue its offensive performance, shooting an incredible 40.3 percent from the field and 37.4 percent on three point shots, while also hitting an improved 66.1 percent of free throws. 


It will also depend on scoring leader Delaney Scherf, who scored her 1,000th point this past week, maintaining her offensive output, shooting 50 percent from the field and 45.7 percent on three-point shots. 


Add in the play of fellow senior Haley Frieden and a trio of juniors in Ashlyn Scherf, Grace Kuehl and Gracie Cummer, and the only thing this team needs to avoid a shooting slump is more Midwestern winter storms wreaking havoc on their schedule. That will lead to a brutal stretch of games in mid-January that could ultimately determine conference supremacy. 


But right now, the path to the top goes through Central, and the Warriors made that abundantly clear in this week’s two games, where they held strong to close out Edgewood-Colesburg, before thoroughly stamping their place at the top with a rout of main conference foe Turkey Valley.


On the road against the Vikings, the Warriors jumped out to a 15-6 lead, which Ed-Co chipped away at in the second period, putting the halftime score at 29-22 in favor of the Warriors. 


By the time the Vikings made a fourth period run, they simply ran out of clock. In reality, though, the 63-57 Warrior victory looks closer than the game actually was, with the Vikings able to hang around with the aid of turnovers, fouls and a slight rebound advantage. 


As for the rest of the game, the Warriors dominated shooting the ball, which has been the story of the season, given the fact the Warriors are averaging 66.2 points per game. They’ve scored fewer than 60 just twice in seven games, with an average margin of victory of 20 points. 


The hot steak continued against Ed-Co, with Central shooting 39.2 percent from the field, 37.5 percent on three pointers and 70 percent on free throws. 


The offense was led by D. Scherf’s 22 points and four assists, followed by Frieden and A. Scherf with 10 points each and a combined four assists. Hannah Asche dropped in another nine points, while Kuehl came in with seven. 


The defense, which has held teams to 40 or fewer points five times this season, shut down the Viking three-point threat, holding the team to 18 percent, while coming up with 18 steals and forcing 27 turnovers. Frieden and D. Scherf each had four steals, and A. Scherf and Kuehl finished with three apiece.   


The most important game on the schedule, though, was against the Trojans at home on Dec. 20, with the winner taking the top spot in the conference. From tip off, the Warriors shot the doors off the Trojans, who never seemed to recover from a 28-7 first period deficit. Even when Turkey Valley attempted a response, the Warriors matched them point for point the remainder of the game, leading to a 70-40 thumping. It was the first time the Warriors scored 70 points in two years. 


The scoring barrage was the result of the Warriors shooting 43 percent from the floor and 52 percent from three-point land, where they drained 10 of 19. The team made 61 percent of free throws, or 16 of 26. 


D. Scherf led the team with 21 points, followed by A. Scherf at 18 and Frieden with 10. Asche and Kuehl combined for 12 points and went seven for eight on free throws. 


The Warriors return to the court after the break, putting their undefeated record on the line against two conference opponents. It starts with a home game versus 3-3 North Fayette Valley on Jan. 3, followed by a match-up versus 6-3 MFL MarMac on Jan. 6.

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