Behind a fast transition offense, Century girls basketball built an early double-digit lead and didn’t look back in its 43-25 victory over Francis Scott Key.
The Knights (6-0) led 16-2 at the end of the first quarter, extending their defensive pressure out on the perimeter. Senior forward Eva Brandt and junior guard Mia Graff converted several of those transition baskets to help the Knights pull away. The veteran tandem combined for 27 points as Brandt led the way with 14.
“We talked about it before the game we said we wanted to get the lead and never lose the lead,” Century coach Danielle Fieni said. “We scored the first two points of the game and we never let up. We talked in the locker room, ‘this is the best start we’ve had all season’. We always would start out a little slow and then just pick it up, but we started out from the beginning and I think that’s what really gave us that fast lead.”
Francis Scott Key (5-4) missed some open shots in the opening quarter but struggled to get into an offensive rhythm against Century’s pressure. While the Knights’ defense created issues, their ball movement helped create several open looks on the other end. Brandt caught fire early on, finding creases in the Eagles’ defense.
“Early on, especially for me, it’s just trying to figure out whether the shot or drive will be open more,” Brandt said. “I wasn’t really hitting my shots outside, so I had to focus more on taking into the paint to try and draw fouls. I think that’s what both me and Mia were able to build off of throughout the game, which helped our offense tremendously.”
Behind that quick-strike offense and strong defense, the Knights led 25-7 at the break. To start the second half, the Eagles found more open shots but were unable to convert. Their struggles shooting, particularly on the interior, allowed the Knights to maintain an 18-point advantage at the end of the third quarter. Sophomore guard Drew Watkins led the Eagles with five points.
“It’s just odd that you’re at home and you can’t get a shot to fall,” Francis Scott Key coach Thomas Develin said. “I feel like we outshot them, I feel like we had more shots than them in the first half. We couldn’t get anything to roll in to get in any kind of rhythm. We’re young and we have a lack of maturity at times. We don’t really rally around ourselves to support it; we just go our own way right now.”
As they had through most of the game, Century relied on its speed to maintain a double-digit advantage in the final quarter. The Knights leaned on their experience as Brandt and fellow senior guard Emma Gordon converted several baskets down the stretch.
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“Ava has been with us since we started so it’s awesome to see where we started and where we’re at now,” Fieni said of the 6-0 start. “We’ve talked to the girls; this is where we want to be. We expect to be where we’re at, we want to just continue it.”