CENTERVILLE — The Centerville girls' high school basketball team cruised to their 12th straight win to remain perfect on the season, earning a 50-21 win over the Chariton Chargers.
The win not only helped to solidify their position as the leader in the South Central Conference championship race, but it also set a school record for consecutive wins for the program.
"Our half court defense was suffocating," lamented Centerville head coach Nic Belloma following the win.
The defensive pressure was a key factor as Redettes recorded 23 steals on the night to go along with seven blocked shots. Chariton came into the game in third place in the conference race and have enjoyed a good deal of success since Christmas break.
"We were also pleased that we held their leading scorer, Avery Hall (15 points per game), to just two total points, both on free throws," assessed Belloma.
Chariton actually struck first in the game, hitting a 3-pointer by Emma Rector with a minute and a half gone from the scoreboard clock. The Redettes had other ideas for the rest of the quarter, reeling off 11 points during the rest of the first quarter while holding the Chargers to just one point on a free throw to take an 11-4 lead.
Claire Mathews, the Redettes leading scorer on the season, notched five points in the period on two free throws and a 3-pointer on her way to a game-high 21 points.
The Redette offense went into high gear during the second frame, with Mathews hitting three field goals for the Redettes to start the second quarter. Not to be outdone, Mickey Stephens hit the next three field goals on lay-ups, with one coming off a steal and one off a Rachel George blocked shot.
Centerville used a 14-point run midway through the frame to open a commanding 36-8 halftime lead.
With the defensive pressure breaking the backs of the Chargers, Mathews opened the second half with a steal and a lay-up. Abby Drew also knocked down a 3-point goal during the quarter.
"I felt our post kids played well defensively," stated Belloma. "With the running clock during the second half of play, it cut down on a few of the other things we wanted to do. Rachel George and Claire George each had three blocked shots also."
The final frame would see a plethora of Redettes with playing time. Combined with a running clock, Centerville would score only one point, a free throw by Kyla Moore, in the fourth.
Scoring leaders for Centerville (12-0, 7-0 SCC) were Mathews with 21 points and seven steals. Stephens scored 13 and added six steals. Claire George scored six points for the winners.
Next up for the conference-leading Redettes is Clarke on Saturday. Action at Lakeview Gymnasium, where Centerville could record a program-record 13th straight win, tips off at 2 p.m.
"Clarke is a young team with a couple of good freshmen," stated Belloma. "If we assert the defensive effort we did tonight, we should be okay."
Teams 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Chariton 4 4 3 10 21
Centerville 11 25 13 1 50