BREESE — Minutes after watching her Red Bud basketball team get trounced on Monday, Musketeers coach Janelle Pfeiffer didn't hold back on what she thought of the Central Cougars.
"That has to be the best Class 2A team around,'' Pfeiffer said. "I cant imagine another Class 2A team in southern Illinois being able to stay with them.''
Two days removed from winning the Pana Tournament, the Cougars didn't let up in their Cahokia Conference opener as Maddie Timmermann and Kendra Wilken combined for 35 points in a 66-29 victory.
With the 5-10 Timmermann scoring 10 of her 21 points and senior guard Torre Kohrmann hitting an early 3-point jumper and nailing a pair of free throws, Central (6-0) jumped out to a 16-2 lead in the first three minutes of the game and never looked back.
With assistant coach Kelly Schumacher going to a deep and talented bench early and often, Central built leads of 22-2 after one quarter and 36-8 at halftime against a stunned Red Bud squad.
Schumacher was filling in for head coach Nathan Rueter. Rueter's wife, Kristin, gave birth to the couple's second child -- Jenna Elizabeth -- early Monday morning.
"I got the call early Monday. Mom, dad and the baby are doing fine,'' Schumacher said.
Rueter's basketball team -- ranked sixth in the Class 2A preseason poll -- was far better then fine on Monday.
With Timmermann scoring three times on either short jumpers or offensive putbacks and Red Bud unable to get anything going on the offensive end of the floor, the Cougars were in total control from the outset.
"We came out and played very well,'' Schumacher said. "We had the big win over Rochester and of course you're always a little concerned about a letdown. We talked about that today.
"But I thought we came out focused and did a good job on both ends of the court.''
One of the top sophomores in the state, the 6-1 Wilken added 14 points, while Kohrmann scored 15 point while also holding Red Bud senior standout Ali Ringering in check for most of the night.
Ringering finished with 23 points, but 13 of them came in the fourth quarter.
"She (Ringering) is a great player and our game plan was to put Torre (Kohrmann) on her and when she got tired, we had Taylor (Rakers) guard her,'' Schumacher said. "Of course we tried to give help on her when we could.''
But Ringering had no help. Returning just two players who had significant playing time from a team which reached the Class 2A sectional title game a year ago, the Musketeers were beaten in every phase of the game on Monday.
"Of course it's not an easy task to play a team like Central in your conference opener. They were bigger, stronger and quicker then we were tonight,' Pfeiffer said.
"They did exactly what we thought they would against us. They clogged up the middle. I bet we didn't shoot 20 percent tonight and you're not going to beat anybody shooting 20 percent."
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org