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44TH DISTRICT GIRLS: Three-pointers, free throws help Central claim crown again

Mar. 2—Madison Central's gameplan certainly wasn't focused on trying and out-shoot one of the top three-point shooting teams in the state.

The strategy, however, changed once the Lady Indians hit the floor for the 44th District Tournament championship on Friday at Alumni Coliseum.

"It was just what was open. We had to take what we could get. They gave us the three-point line," Madison Central junior guard Cameryn Ridderikhoff said. "So, we took advantage of it."

The Lady Indians (18-11) hit five three-pointers in the first quarter against Madison Southern (20-10) and raced out to a 15-point lead.

Central never trailed and held on late for a 56-49 victory which secured a second-straight district tournament title. The Lady Indians were 8-of-15 from three-point range and hit big free throws late to seal the win.

Nataya Strader and Brittany Campbell each had 17 points for Central, while Laci Sandlin had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Lady Eagles.

Both teams advanced on to the 11th Region Tournament.

"We kind of guessed what they might come out in — and we guessed right," Central coach Scott True said. "We had some sets which got us some open looks (from long range) and we knocked them down."

During the regular season, Madison Southern hit 38.8 percent of it three-point shots (194-of-500) — third-best in the state.

In the district title game, the Lady Eagles were 3-of-10 from long range.

On Friday, Central's first four field goals were threes.

The Lady Indians raced out to a 12-2 lead and were up 24-12 at halftime.

That advantage grew to 18 points in the second half.

"I told (our players) that Southern was going to make a run — and they did," True said. "So, we had to handle that. and we did."

They did that at the free throw line.

Central was 14-of-20 at the stripe in the fourth quarter, including an 8-of-8 performance by Campbell.

"I just knew I had to knock them," said Campbell, who also had seven assists.

The Lady Indians were 14-of-23 at the line for the game, and shot 50 percent from the field.

"We have not been a great free throw shooting team, but we were tonight in the fourth quarter," True said.

Ridderikhoff had 14 points and six rebounds. Eden Carter had six points and four rebounds. Brooke Campbell finished with two points and four assists.

Hadley French finished with 16 points for Southern. Bailey Hensley had nine points. Cami Duerson had two points and three assists, while Ashlan Estep had two points.

The Lady Eagles shot 45.5 percent from the field and were 16-of-24 at the line.