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Century's Bailee Otterness (22) is defended by Mandan's Megan Zander (22) during last Saturday night's game.

TOM STROMME, TRIBUNE

  When you score 42 points in the first half of a girls basketball game and find yourself trailing by 11 at halftime, you know something is wrong.

 Fix what's wrong and you're home free.

 "The whole first half we got out of control and tried to do things too fast," Century coach Ron Metz said as he looked back on last Saturday's 90-77 season-opening victory over Mandan. "We let the game control us through the first half. ... Some poor choices on offense led to some easy shots by Mandan in the first half."

 After playing the first half more or less on Mandan's terms, Century got back to its intense defense-plus-high-percentage offense in the second half.

 "We had 48 points the second half and we played at a slower pace in the second half. But we were more efficient in the second half ... We were able to get back on defense and be in better positions defensively, also," Metz continued.

 That took some of the air out of Mandan's transition game that disrupted things for the Patriots over the first 18 minutes.

 Mandan had a 22-15 edge in takeaways, and the bulk of that damage occurred in the first half, according to Metz.

 "The majority of our turnovers were in the first half, especially the last three or four minutes," Metz recalled. "And we were in a little bit of foul trouble, too."

 But many of those ills faded away when the Patriots got the tempo of the game under control after intermission. Once Century was able to maximize its posts, 6-foot-4 sophomore Lauren Ware and 6-foot senior Bailee Otterness, the whole complexion of the offense changed.

 "Just the ability to move the ball inside and out and score in both areas really helped us. They doubled down and tried to take the post positions away from Lauren and Bailee ... and that created some nice open threes for our girls outside," Metz observed. 

 Indeed. Ware and Otterness tallied 20 and eight points respectively. On the perimeter, senior Mariya Kinnebrew (15), junior Lilly Keplin (21), senior Megan Anderson (12) and senior Katelyn Selensky (9) combined for 57 points.

 Ware yanked down 17 rebounds, six on the offensive end. Century's statistics showed a 64-33 CHS rebounding advantage. Much to Metz's delight, Century seized 23 of those caroms on the offensive end.

 "We had a lot of second-chance points. We controlled the boards pretty well," Metz noted. "Those put-back points were really big for us. ... We gave ourselves a lot of second chances, especially in the second half."

With that demanding opener behind them, the Patriots head for the Gillette (Wyo.) Invitational. That will give Metz and his staff an opportunity to experiment and evaluate with three nonconference games in three days.

 "One of the things we hope to find (at Gillette) is some depth in our rotation. ... This will give a lot of girls a lot of experience in a short period to time," Metz said. "... As young as we are, we can experiment on some different rotations and mix things up."

 Century went nine deep in its opener.

 "Part of that was due to foul trouble. ... Going in we were hoping to go with at least eight. (The reserves) did well. We were happy with what those girls did," Metz said. "... Two sophomores (5-10 forward Hailey Fletcher and 5-6 guard Chloe Markovic) came in and played really well at the eighth and ninth spots."

 Century's boys and Legacy's boys and girls are also headed for the Gillette Invitational. The CHS boys are 0-1, while both Legacy teams will be playing their first games of the season.

 The CHS girls are ranked No. 1 in the first Class A media poll of the season. Century's boys drew votes but were unable to crack the tip five in the boys rankings.

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Sports Reporter