The quick-start ability of the McCluer North Stars proved to be too much for the Central Cougars to overcome Tuesday at the O’Fallon Tip-Off Classic.
Anasha Hurst scored seven of her 13 points in the first five minutes, and the Stars never looked back, as they defeated the Cougars 46-35 in third-round action of the third annual event.
Nipped by host O’Fallon in their tournament opener on Monday, the Stars (1-1) connected on five of their first seven shots to take an 11-2 lead. Central, playing with injured senior guard Faye Meissner (hamstring) and two other key players, would get no closer than six points the rest of the night.
Central (0-2), which lost four starters, including three time all-state selection and current St. Louis University player Kendra Wilken, from a team which was ranked first in the Class 2A state poll for most of last season, just couldn’t match the Stars’ experience and athleticism despite a gallant effort.
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“And we’ll see two more athletic teams tomorrow (Wednesday),” Central coach Nathan Rueter said. “But these are the kinds of teams we need to see in order to get better.
“I was very pleased at the heart that our basketball team showed tonight. The way they (McCluer North) shot in the first quarter, where everything they put up seemed to go in, it would have been easy for our girls to get discouraged and throw in the towel. But they showed a lot of heart by not giving up and fighting back.”
Junior Olivia Wesselmann led Central with nine points, while Allison Fehrmann added eight points.
Central will play Hazelwood Central at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday and will then take on O’Fallon in the tournament finale at 6 p.m.