CARNEY - It was just another day's work for the undefeated Superior Central girls basketball team Monday.
The Cougars - ranked No. 2 in the U.P. and state behind St. Ignace - made the 80 mile trip from Eben, then promptly got off the bus and got out to a 23-0 lead after the first quarter en route to a 66-23 Central U.P. Conference victory over Carney-Nadeau Monday night.
"The girls played really well tonight," said Cougars coach Greg Trowbridge. "I talked to them a little bit and wanted to make sure that we weren't too aggressive. I didn't want them to get into foul trouble, which has happened a little bit this year. When I can keep all five starters on the floor, good things happen."
Superior Central’s Vanessa Freberg hits a shot in the paint as Lauren Murray of Carney-Nadeau defends Monday night in Central U.P. League play in Carney. Freberg led the Cougars with 21 points. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Keith Shelton)
Good things indeed. The Cougars (19-0, 14-0 CUP) simply took what was presented to them and that ended up being a slew of Wolves turnovers and open looks at the other end. It powered Superior Central out to a 27-0 lead before the Wolves (10-9, 9-6 CUP) scored their first point at the seven minute mark of the second quarter on a free throw from Morgan Eichhorn.
"I thought they did a really good job tonight (defensively)," said Trowbridge. "We just ran man-to-man instead of switching things up with the press. I thought we needed to work on that as we're getting ready for the tournament."
Vanessa Freberg led the Cougars with 21 points while Teslyn Tyner added 18. The duo put up a combined five triples, all in the first half, and neither played more than a couple minutes of the fourth quarter.
"I was concerned about them getting hurt in a situation like that," said Trowbridge.
It was a typical game from Freberg. The junior forward, now 39 points away from 1,000 for her career, often deferred to her teammates even if the opportunity was there for her.
The Wolves first field goal came at the 5:40 mark on a jumper from Miranda Baumler. That seemed to briefly spark Carney as it put together a 10-point quarter, but any momentum was short lived.
The Cougars built a 40 point (54-14) lead at about the 1:40 mark of the third quarter and it was a running clock until the end.
"I was hoping we'd put up a good showing. Right now, we're just in a funk and I don't know if it would have mattered who we played tonight, but Superior Central is an awesome team," said Wolves coach Duane Bingham. "They shot well, they defended well, they ran the court and rebounded well. If you play your worst game, you don't want to play the best team in the conference on their best night, but that's what it seemed like tonight. Our heads just weren't in it.
"Our offense is just off-kilter right now. We can't get anything going on the offensive end. There were passes that went right through fingers or right to the other team. I know these girls can play better than they did tonight. We'll have to figure it out by the end of the week."
Superior Central will try to wrap up an undefeated regular season at home Thursday against Engadine.
The Wolves won the JV game 28-26.