CORINTH, Maine — On this Saturday after Christmas, the Central girls basketball team was in more of a taking mood than a giving one.
The Red Devils forced 23 turnovers, including 16 on steals, and built a 16-point halftime lead en route to a comfortable 44-23 victory over Caribou at the high school gym.
This game was never in doubt, as coach Diane Rollins’ club scored the contest’s first 14 points and held the Vikings without a field goal for more than a quarter and a half.
That was primarily thanks to Central’s full-court pressure, which forced Caribou into many mistakes.
“I thought our pressure in the first quarter, you know, way up on them man-to-man, I thought that worked very well, so I was happy with that,” said Rollins, whose Red Devils improved to 3-2.
Sophomore guard Hannah Pray and senior backcourt mate Rachel Trafton were the Devils’ defensive catalysts, as the two combined for 10 steals with Pray scoring 10 of her 12 points in the first half.
“I think to start out in a press, it really pumps our team up and we just get into the game,” said Trafton.
Pray scored eight points during the Devils’ game-opening 14-0 run and they led 28-12 at halftime.
The advantage peaked as high as 25 in the second half.
Sam Blanchard, a junior guard, chipped in with 10 points for Central.
Even though they held Caribou (1-5) to five field goals (5-for-43) on the night, the Devils were in foul trouble constantly. The Vikings took 24 trips to the free- throw line.
“We need to slide a little bit better and close out instead of slapping,” said Rollins.
Sophomore center Bekka Campbell, who dominated the post to the tone of 12 points and 12 rebounds, concurred.
“We’re doing a lot better as far as defense goes, [but] we still need to stop hacking and slapping at the ball,” said Campbell.
Campbell, who is 6-foot-2, is still finding some confidence in her offensive game, despite the fact the Vikes threw double- and sometimes triple-teams at her every time she touched the ball in the paint.
“I do see a lot of double-teams … my offense, it’ll come eventually,” said Campbell. “I think that I feel much better as far as my defense goes.”
With its defense stifling Caribou, Central was able to get its running game going.
“We try to run the ball as much as we can … we just try to keep the ball fast-paced,” said Trafton.
With a lot of speed and Campbell’s presence down low, Rollins feels her club can surprise some people later on this season.
“Athletically, we can match anybody. We just need to get it together,” she said.
Jenna Selander hit 10-of-16 free throws en route to 12 points for Caribou.
BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY BRIDGET BROWN
Caribou’s Katie Bell (32) attempts to get around Central’s Sam Blanchard in the first half Saturday at Central High School in Corinth. Central won 44-23.