Civic Memorial coach Jonathan Denney said he had been waiting for sophomore Anna Hall to have a breakout game.
It could not have come at a better time, as the 5-foot-10 sophomore post player racked up a double-double with a career-high 21 points and 12 rebounds to help the Eagles rout host Highland 52-25 on Wednesday in the battle of the two perennial Mississippi Valley Conference powers.
Civic Memorial (11-1) also got 11 points from senior guard Kaylee Eaton to remain unbeaten in league play, while the Bulldogs (8-3) suffered their first defeat in the MVC and their second loss in a row.
“That’s the coming-out party I’ve been waiting for,” Denney said of Hall. “She really kind of locked into a role position last year, but I told her at the beginning of the season that she is a double-double type of kid. And if she can get double-doubles for us, we’re going to be pretty good.
“But it was a great time for her to come out and play the way she did. I am proud of Anna Hall, she was big time tonight.”
Hall and her teammates exposed Highland’s lack of inside attack and focused on limiting Highland’s three-pronged guard attack of Ellie Brown, Rece Portell and Emmy Nyquist. The trio had to work hard for every single point and combined to score just 16 points, with Brown scoring half of them.
Civic Memorial used a 14-2 run in the first quarter to go on top 16-5 after one quarter of play. The Bulldogs trailed 24-16 early in the third quarter, but the Eagles reeled off 17 points to blow the game wide open.
“Coach told us they were way smaller than we are, so if we were going to win, we really had to work inside,” Hall said. “We definitely worked inside and used our advantage over them. It’s definitely a great time (to have a big game) because I knew we were going to have to come out strong if we really wanted to win.
“And it’s a great test to show how far we have come at midseason. ... But we definitely can still improve from this game.”