Century quickly erased Legacy’s fast start Saturday night.
The Sabers, ranked No. 4 in the state, have nothing to feel bad about it — the 18-0 Patriots have done that to almost everybody this season.
Legacy led No. 1-ranked Century 15-9 six minutes into the cross-town rivalry at Olson Gymnasium, but the lead was short-lived, as it often is against the Patriots, who pulled away for a 78-49 win.
From there, Century scored 34 of the next 40 points of the half, turning a competitive contest into another Patriots runaway.
“Legacy came out with a lot of energy, give them credit,” Century coach Ron Metz said. “That’s what we try to emphasize to our team is that everybody is going to throw something different at you and you have to be ready and be able to adjust.
“We got down early, but I thought our girls did a good job of staying composed and eventually we were able to hit a few shots, get out in transition and turn momentum in our favor.”
Back-to-back baskets by Ashley Hulm and Taryn Allmaras gave the Sabers a six-point edge at 15-9.
“I loved the fight of our girls, I thought we played really hard,” Legacy coach Jim Petrik said. “We were able to get off to a good start, but I thought we missed some good looks we normally make and against great teams like Century, you need to take advantage of those opportunities because it’s very difficult to score against them consistently.”
“I thought we played pretty well in the first half and we were down 22. That’s kind of what they do to you.”
Down early, Century raced into the lead on a 14-3 run, needing just three minutes to do it. Lilly Keplin reeled off seven straight points in the spurt, three coming on a banked-in 3-pointer. Ella Fridley’s center-cut 3-ball from the corner gave the Patriots their first double-digit lead at 29-18.
“Defensively, they make it very difficult on you,” Petrik said. “Keplin is very aggressive playing the passing lanes and obviously inside with (Lauren) Ware protecting the basket, you don’t get a lot of easy looks.”
Century allows just 42 points per game.
“We work on a lot of different things, but it comes down to the girls executing and they’ve done a really good job in that area,” Metz said.
Keplin led all scorers in the game with 22 points. Ware added 11 as five Patriots had seven points or more. Julia Fitterer sank a trio of 3-pointers.
Arianna Berryhill topped the Sabers with 14 points. Legacy hosts Jamestown on Tuesday.
“I thought we did a lot of good things, but against Century you have to play 36 minutes and we didn’t do that tonight,” Petrik said. “We still have a few weeks left in the season and our goal is to be playing our best basketball at the end of the season. I think if we continue to work hard and improve, we’re in pretty good position to do that.”
Century still has just one game decided by 10 or less, coming way back on Dec. 7 against Mandan (66-57). The rematch is just five days away, this time in Mandan on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. Before that, the Patriots host St. Mary’s on Tuesday.
“That’s a big game, but we’re not looking past St. Mary’s,” Metz said. “We have to be ready to play a good team on Tuesday.”