Maize used Taylor Holmes’ nine first-quarter points and a suffocating defense to get Salina Central down early, then an underclassman boost sealed a 62-47 AV-CTL Division I victory Friday night.
Holmes had 14 points by halftime and helped Maize (15-3) to a 33-18 halftime lead, but the senior also was saddled with three first-half fouls, relegating her to a spectator role for the third quarter.
Salina Central (14-4) suffered from disastrous shooting in the first half, scoring its first points of the game around the three-minute mark on two free throws by senior Casey Knoth. The Mustangs’ lone basket of the period came on Emma Cain’s jumper with 1:13 remaining.
“We know Maize plays great defense, and that’s one thing we’ve emphasized all week,” said Mustangs assistant coach Traci Pfeifer, filling in for head coach Chris Fear. “You have to come out and be tough, and we have to match their intensity, and we didn’t do that in the first half.”
Meanwhile, Maize led 13-4 at the end of the quarter, and a 20-point second quarter gave the Eagles a 33-18 halftime lead.
“We’ve got some determined girls,” Maize coach Jerrod Handy said. “They’re ready to play. They missed a lot of shots that sometimes they’re putting in, so I felt fortunate.”
But with Holmes sitting down, 6-foot-1 junior Lauren White took over, scoring 10 second-half points and finishing with 14. She got help from 5-10 junior Alexis Cauthon, who had seven of her 12 points after halftime.
“We’ve got a whole team of players who can do what it takes,” Handy said. “(White) has come around right when we need her to, right toward the end. Cauthon’s a great shooter. She finds a spot, and she can just knock them down.”
White patrolled down low, getting key rebounds and stickbacks and hitting 4 of 6 free throws for her total. Cauthon hit 3 of 4 free throws in the second half, and 6-foot senior Brecken Roe kept the heat on with key hustle plays.
“She does a lot of things that people don’t recognize,” Handy said of Roe. “She’s every bit of a sparkplug as Taylor.”
SALINA CENTRAL: Cain 17, Backes 11, Knoth 10, Petty 5, Nowlin 4.
MAIZE: Holmes 15, White 14, Cauthon 12, Roe 8, Jones 6, Stewart 5, Malloy 2.