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Notre Dame girls basketball team grateful for Tigers' generosity
Committing turnovers against a team that likes to run is usually a bad idea.
The Central girls basketball team found that out the hard way Tuesday night at the Show Me Center as Notre Dame ran away with a 62-35 SEMO Conference victory.
Annie Siebert scored 19 points and the Bulldogs forced 35 turnovers while improving to 16-3 on the season.
"We're a transition team," Notre Dame coach Renee Peters said. "We press, and we run some. Tonight it worked to our advantage."
Turnovers plagued the Tigers (7-11) early on. Central committed eight in a sloppy first quarter that enabled the Bulldogs to jump to a 17-6 lead after eight minutes. Things only got worse for the Tigers in the second quarter as they turned the ball over 12 more times, including two straight that helped fuel a 10-2 Bulldog run that pushed Notre Dame's lead to 31-11.
"We're a team of bursts," Peters said. "Once we get rolling, it's hard to stop."
Central coach Sherri Shirrell tried everything in her limited arsenal to stop the barrage, to no avail.
"We just didn't take care of the ball in the first half," Shirrell said. "I thought in the second half we came out with more intensity."
By then, it was all but over. Siebert scored 13 points in the first half, which ended with Notre Dame leading 39-14. Any thoughts Central had of climbing back into the game vanished when Siebert and teammate Karsen Powers opened the third quarter with layups to push the lead to 43-14.
"Those runs, that's what gets us going," Siebert said. "It gets our adrenaline pumping. That's what we shoot for."
Further hampering Central was the fact second-leading scorer Bailey Kratochvil was under the weather. The senior guard was held scoreless, which put even more pressure on fellow senior Alayah Cooper-Johnson. The senior forward scored 19 points -- including the Tigers' first 11 of the game -- while constantly facing double- and triple-teams.
"She was our main goal, to try to guard her," Notre Dame junior forward Shelby Beussink said. "We knew we had to keep her off the boards if we wanted to come out with a win."
Notre Dame was coming off a championship in last week's Queen of Hearts Tournament in suburban St. Louis, and Peters said those games helped against Central.
"We just came off from a tournament where, every game, we had to target one or two scorers," Peters said. "We knew we had to target (Cooper-Johnson). We tried to take her out of her comfort zone."
With Kratochvil slowed, Central didn't have another consistent scoring threat. Freshman guard Kassidy Pannier had two 3-pointers, and sophomore forward Tramonee Stewart came off the bench to score eight points -- all in the second half.
"You can't play a team of that quality and just get points out of one player," Shirrell said.
NOTRE DAME (62) -- Miranda Fowler 9, Annie Siebert 19, Karsen Powers 11, Shelby Beussink 6, Kaitlin Welter 8, Taylor Feeney 2, Kayce Landewee 4, Kelsey Luster 3. FG 26, FT 6-9, F 13. (3-pointers: Powers 2, Siebert 1, Fowler 1. Fouled out: none)
CENTRAL (35) -- Alayah Cooper-Johnson 19, Bailey Bliss 2, Tramonee Stewart 8, Kassidy Pannier 6. FG 10, FT 13-16, F 11. (3-pointers: Pannier 2. Fouled out: none)