BROOKSVILLE — Central fell in its season opener to Wiregrass Ranch, but ever since, the Bears have been on a mission to prove why they are one of the teams to beat this season.
That mission continued Thursday night in a convincing 59-43 victory at Hernando.
“We’re all business from here on in,” Central coach Penny Gressick said. “There’s no more laughing and giggling. (These girls) want to focus on winning.”
While Raqurra Ishmar (24 points, 18 rebounds, eight steals), arguably the most dominant player on the North Suncoast, got into foul trouble early, Central (2-1) was still able to push its halftime lead over the Leopards (1-1) to 31-23. Point guard McKenzie Burns (21 points, six rebounds, five assists, eight steals) stepped up and turned in a stellar performance.
Ishmar collected her third foul just as the second quarter got under way, and she was forced to sit the bench for the remainder of the half. Without her presence in the post, the Bears relied more heavily on Burns’ backcourt scoring. The floor general delivered with 15 points going into the locker room, including three 3-pointers.
“I called (Burns) over to tell her that she needed to pick up the scoring, and she did,” Gressick said. “We were becoming very one-dimensional. I was never very comfortable out there.”
Hernando managed a couple of runs to keep things interesting, but the firepower and intensity of Central proved to be too much. Malea Kalina led the Leopards with 13 points. Brittany Flowers had a team-high nine rebounds.