Central girls basketball team loses in first round of Holiday Classic

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Farmington's Rachel Williams fouls Central's Alayah Cooper-Johnson during the second quarter of their Kelso Supply Holiday Classic first-round game Tuesday. Farmington won 41-39. (Laura Simon)

Central girls basketball coach Sherri Shirrell called a timeout with 11.6 seconds to go and the Tigers trailing by two points against Farmington in the opening round of the Kelso Supply Holiday Classic.

Fourth-seeded Central got the shot it hoped for but not the result in a 41-39 loss at the Show Me Center.

"They worked it to perfection, just like how we drew it up," Shirrell said. "We just missed the shot at the end. That's a tough one to lose a ballgame on."

Junior Chelsea Vinson got free from her defender in the paint, but her shot attempt fell off the rim.

The miss was part of an unfortunate trend for Central on Tuesday night.

Central's Chelsea Vinson guards Farmington's Rachel Williams on Tuesday during the second quarter of their Kelso Supply Holiday Classic first-round game.

The Tigers attempted 55 shots, many of them earned through offensive rebounds, but made just 15 of them.

"The easy ones under the basket we've got to put in the hole," Shirrell said. "We had too many missed shots right underneath the basket, too many opportunities we let slip through our hands."

The Tigers trailed 39-36 with less than a minute to go in the game when they missed four consecutive shots under the basket.

Alayah Cooper-Johnson was fouled after getting Central's fourth offensive rebound of the possession and made 1 of 2 free throws.

"When we want to, we can," Cooper-Johnson said about her team's rebounding.

Central coach Sherri Shirrell talks to her players from the sideline during the second quarter.

Central got three offensive rebounds on its next possession before Cooper-Johnson scored to tie the game at 39-39.

"They went to the boards really, really well," Farmington coach Steve McFarland said. "We could have blocked out a little better. We're very young and we're still learning. Sizewise they were a tough matchup for us. Sometimes they had four probably post players in there and most of the time we had one or right there at the end none."

Farmington, the No. 5 seed, responded to Cooper-Johnson's basket with a score by sophomore Jordan Martin, and there would be no offensive rebound for the Tigers on their final possession.

"We need to focus more, concentrate on putting the ball in the hole," Cooper-Johnson said.

Martin finished with 13 points to lead Farmington. Junior Rachel Williams added 11.

Central's Alayah Cooper-Johnson shoots over Farmington's Sara Pinkley during the first quarter of their Kelso Supply Holiday Classic first-round game.

Central committed 18 turnovers in the game, while Farmington had 17.

"When we started making turnovers, we were rushing," Cooper-Johnson said. "We weren't running any offense. We were just going and throwing the ball."

Farmington was 16 of 39 (41 percent) from the floor.

The Knights made their first four shots of the game but missed their final six of the first quarter.

"Our defensive intensity wasn't very good," Shirrell said about the start. "They were cutting back door and we weren't talking on defense. I think we finally picked that up a little bit and picked up their back screens."

Vinson led Central with 17 points and Cooper Johnson added 10.

Central, which dropped to 4-4 this season, will play Saxony Lutheran at 5:30 p.m. today in the consolation bracket, while Farmington advanced to face Jackson.

Farmington813614--41
Central1081110--39

FARMINGTON (41) -- Shania Sweeney 2, Jessica Hicks 4, Kaitly Gilliam 5, Jordan Martin 13, Kourtney Knox 2, Rachel Williams 11, Loralee Bader 4. FG 16, FT 7-17, F 14. (3-pointers: Martin 2. Fouled out: Williams)

CENTRAL (39) -- Allie Hardesty 2, Alayah Cooper-Johnson 10, Bailey Kratochvil 2, Kadie Orenstein 4, Apolonia Thomas 4, Chelsea Vinson 17. FG 16, FT 6-15, F 15. (3-pointers: Vinson 1. Fouled out: none)

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