The winter sports season arrived just as the brisk winter weather did on Friday night when all four St. Joseph girl’s teams squared off in the City Basketball Jamboree at the MWSU Fieldhouse.
Both Central and Benton ran through their first games by the same score of 19-9 against Bishop LeBlond and Lafayette respectively. The Cardinals then beat LeBlond 25-12 while Central defeated the Irish 16-4.
What came next resulted in a slim 23-19 Central win was a preview of this coming Tuesday’s season-opening matchup, a game that Indians coach Jared Boone likes to see this early already.
“Close games like that, it only prepares you for the end of the season,” Boone said. “When you can have close games like that, and especially with a team where we got a lot of freshmen playing in key moments like that, they gotta learn to close games out like that. They gotta learn to value possessions and stuff like that. That’s all stuff that’ll help us going forward.”
As for how his team performed, Boone knows there both pros and cons to build off of on a team returning starters in Ella Moody, Gracie Moody, Sydney Sample and Lauren Eiman.
“I’m proud to win, I’m proud of how we played, but I’m also a little not too happy with how we played also,” Boone said. “It’s early, we still have a lot to work on.”
As for the runner-ups of the jamboree, Benton coach Kerstyn Bolton saw her team of newcomers perform well, going 2-1 on the night, but knew she wouldn’t see any sort of preview of what Central is going to look like this Tuesday in the season opener.
“For the most part, we leave here with a lot of good things,” Bolton said. “We’re both smart enough where we don’t want to show anything.”
LeBlond was the only other team to pick up a win as the Eagles defeated Lafayette 17-13 after a late go-ahead 3-pointer by freshman Tatum Studer. This moment was one of the positive points LeBlond coach Jackie Fore took away from Friday night.
“It’s great to see that you can count on someone like that, that’s a freshman,” Fore said. “I think any of our girls are capable of stepping up and making that shot. I can see all of them doing that, but for that one particular moment, it was definitely exciting to see the team support and the confidence she had in herself to make that.”
While the Eagles did go 1-2 on the night, Fore chalks that up to more of physical issue then mental.
“Our conditioning level needs to increase,” Fore said. “Being tough with the ball, being more aggressive. (Central and Benton) are both big teams. We need to focus on boxing out. Taking care of the ball is a big priority that we’re trying to stress with all levels. They really came out and pressured us hard.”
Lafayette coach Brad Spinner knows his team needs some work, but he also knows the 2019-20 schedule hasn’t officially began.
“Well, it’s the jamboree. Our record is still 0-0,” Spinner said. “It’s tough. You’re in front of the whole city, in front of your friends, your family and your rivals, so it’s tough to go winless. At the end of the day, our record is still 0-0, and most importantly, we were able to pinpoint some things that we definitely need to work on coming up in the future if we’re going to be competitive,” Spinner said. “I think it was a successful jamboree as far pointing out some things we need to work on.”
All six games were consisted of two six-minute quarters.