COTTLEVILLE • With time winding down in the first half against Parkway Central, the Francis Howell Central girls basketball team turned in its best defensive effort for some eye-popping results.
The host Spartans held the Colts to two points from late in the second quarter until the final buzzer sounded to run away with a 48-14 victory on Friday.
Francis Howell Central's 40-2 run to end the game was a new experience for most, if not all, of the Spartans, including senior forward Yani Curry.
“I've never been a part of anything like that before, not that I can think of anyway,” Curry said. “We focused on taking care of the defensive end of the floor first and then taking care of our runs (through offensive sets). I don't think our mindset changed from the beginning of the season. We're always thinking about it (defense) first. That is where we start everything.”
Francis Howell Central (4-1, No. 7 in the STLhighschoolsports.com large-schools rankings) outscored the visiting Colts 18-4 in the second quarter to turn a two-point deficit into a 24-12 halftime lead.
“Our whole idea is that we want to make our opponents make tough shots,” Francis Howell Central coach Hayley Leake said. “We want them to take them quicker than they want to take them and from spots they don't want to take them. That is a huge focus for us every day. To see our kids come out and execute that is very rewarding.”
Francis Howell Central got plenty of scoring help. Curry led the way with 10 points while senior guard Lauren Ebert added eight and junior forward Aria Lynch chipped in seven.
Nine players scored for Central, making things easy on Leake and the Spartans' coaching staff.
“We knew tonight was going to provide a lot of energy for us, being our home opener,” Leake said. “But we also knew we were going to be in a battle. Our girls came ready. Our girls were finding opportunities for the team where it could be successful.”
Parkway Central (4-1, No. 2 LS) was led in scoring by junior guard Kennedy Moore, who had five points.
The Colts played without junior post player Jayla Kelly, who sat with an ankle injury, though not a serious one, Parkway Central coach Brian Guilfoyle said.
“Jayla's fine, she had a sprained ankle in the last game but she should be back by next week,” Guilfoyle said. “We played hard in the first quarter but, from there, we didn't have many shots that fell. We didn't take care of the ball very well. My hat's off to them. They are a very well-coached team.”
Francis Howell Central improved to 8-0 against Parkway Central since at least 1999. Francis Howell Central pulled off a much closer 35-30 win against the Colts last season.
“I know most of my girls remember what a hard-fought game it was to win at their place last season," Leake said. "Parkway Central has a great program and it really is something (to earn such a win).”