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RUSH SPRINGS —
Central High opened strong, closed even stronger, and made a first-round statement Monday night at the Black Diamond Tournament.
The Lady Bronchos watched their big first-quarter lead slowly get whittled away, and they even trailed for a grand total of 16 seconds early in the fourth quarter, before roaring past Dibble for a 53-46 win.
“We beat a good team. They are ranked higher than us in this tournament,” said Central High coach Chad Weldon. “We know we have a very tough next game but I’ll take this win every time.”
Dibble seemed to have all the momentum as it took its first lead of the second half on the opening basket of the fourth quarter. But what could have been the tipping point, just turned out angering and refocusing the Lady Bronchos, who fired back with an 11-2 run and they never let the Lady Demons back in, going 8-of-9 from the foul line in the final period.
“They are seniors. I knew they would respond well,” Weldon said of his team’s quick comeback.
The Lady Bronchos (9-2) advance to Thursday’s semifinals, where it will meet Class A’s ninth-ranked Sterling (13-2).
Senior Lora-Lynn Loomis scored a team-high 15 points to go along with eight rebounds for Central High, while sophomore Faith Harris racked up 13 points and 17 rebounds. Senior Caitlyn White finished with 11 points, senior Laci Phillips added eight and four assists and senior Aleia Daniels had six points and four rebounds.
After six lead changes, the Lady Bronchos pulled away late in the first quarter behind a 3-point barrage. Phillips drained one before Loomis knocked down three 3s in less than 80 seconds as Central High went 4-for-4 from long range in the first quarter as it built a 16-8 lead.
By halftime, the lead was 26-18 before Dibble shrunk the margin to 33-32 by the end of the third quarter.