CCHS beats St. Mary, advances to quarters

Central Catholic High School advanced to the Class 1A quarterfinals for the third straight year with a 43-25 victory against St. Mary on Monday at home. Guard Randi Brown led the Lady Eagles with a double-double with 26 points and 13 rebounds in the win. The Lady Eagles, Class 1A’s No. 2 seed, now will turn their attention to No. 7 seed Tensas, who Central Catholic will host Thursday at 5:30 p.m. (The Daily Review/Corwin Murray)

Randi started off slow because she felt like she had to do everything, but once she saw that she could get the other girls involved, we were fine.
By CORWIN MURRAY

No. 2 Central Catholic got off to a slow start without standout guard Meo Knight but regrouped to pull away from No. 15 St. Mary 43-25 Monday in Class 1A regional playoff action.
Knight, an Alabama signee, was injured late in the first half of last week’s 64-20 blowout win against Logansport in the opening round of the state playoffs. Knight was on crutches sitting on the CCHS’ bench.
On Monday night, both teams struggled to score in the opening quarter.
“I don’t think it was nerves,” St. Mary’s coach Johnny Cox said of his squad. “We got past that in the last round. We just didn’t shoot well. We competed but we couldn’t score. I thought we had a chance with one of their key players out, but they played well. They’re a good team.”
Central Catholic (26-3) led 10-7 after one quarter but extended the lead to 23-12 at halftime behind the sharpshooting of Randi Brown. Brown had 16 first-half points, including four 3-pointers.
“Randi started off slow because she felt like she had to do everything, but once she saw that she could get the other girls involved, we were fine,” Central Catholic coach Jamarr Garrett said.
The Lady Eagles went to full-court pressure to start the third quarter, forcing three straight turnovers. A steal and a layup by Brown pushed Central Catholic to 37-19 at the end of the quarter.
“Every team we talked to said they turned the ball over a lot, so we figured if we pressure them and forced them into turnovers, then we could get some easy baskets,” Garrett said. “But we didn’t convert them in the first half. But in the second half, we did and we pulled away.”
Brown led CCHS with a double-double with 26 points (six 3-pointers) and 13 rebounds as well as six steals and two assists.
Other top contributors included Gee Garrett, seven points, four rebounds and one assist; Mary-Beth Blanchard, six points, two assists and two rebounds; Megan Landry, two points, three steals, two assists and four rebounds; and Hallie Autin, two points, two steals, three assists and three rebounds.
“We told Gee that if she just matched her scoring from the last game then we would be fine,” Garrett said. “Mary-Beth also hit two big 3-pointers and if we can get a couple more points out of Megan and Hallie, then I feel real good going forward.”
Garrett said Knight will be day-to-day with the knee injury.
“It’s going to be a wait and see thing,” he said. “Of course we would like to have her, but I feel pretty good about the way we played (Monday).”
Jackie Clark led St. Mary (20-7) with seven points.
Central Catholic will return to action Thursday when it hosts Tensas at 5:30 p.m. The game will be a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal, which Central Catholic won.

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