The Centurions’ hot start to the season continued Tuesday night in a 67-34 rout of Ballard. With the victory, CAL (5-0) remains undefeated and has outscored its last four opponents by an average margin of 26 points.
“I think we’re playing very unselfish basketball right now. I’m happy with that part of it. We still turned the ball over too much. But all in all, I love the way we shared the ball,” said CAL head coach Perry White. “We have so much chemistry right now, which is a great thing for us. We need that. We haven’t had that in the past. This year, we have so much depth that we can have a different leading scorer every night. We’re capable of that, and we all know that.”
“We’ve been practicing since June, so I think we’re just starting to learn how everyone plays and know where they’re going to be before they’re there. We’re just reading each other very well,” said senior Sarah McDonald.
Fellow senior Arina Khlopkova led the Centurions with a game-high 22 points, all in the first half. She also had six rebounds, one block, and one assist. Khlopkova is a new addition to the team this season, having transferred to CAL from West Virginia. Her impact on the Centurions was immediate.
“She was one that kind of fell in our lap during the summertime. The school she was at in West Virginia dissolved its basketball program,” said White. “She comes to the first practice and immediately shows she can shoot. You’re happy when you get a six-footer because we haven’t had that. Then you get a six-footer who can shoot the ball too. She can spread the floor and attack the basket. I’m very proud of her.”
“She works hard all the time,” said McDonald. “She’s an awesome shooter, obviously. She’s a great asset to the team.”
The Centurions built a big lead right from the tip, scoring the first ten points of the game. They led Ballard 24-5 after one quarter, holding the Bruins to just one basket. Khlopkova hit five three-pointers in the first half to help CAL gain a 30-point advantage by halftime.
“Our team is pretty good,” said Khlopkova. “We’re not selfish. We support and help each other.”
Khlopkova was joined in double-figures by McDonald, who finished with 14 points, and Shelby Calhoun had 13 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
Junior Kiarah Carney led Ballard (1-3) with eleven points, and Naria Reed scored eight points.
The Centurions visit Spencer County Friday night before a big matchup against top ten Lincoln County. CAL then heads to Bullitt East for the Queen of the Commonwealth, where it faces Elizabethtown, another top ten team, in its opening game.
“I think we’re capable of stepping up,” said White. “I’m anxious to see how we handle adversity because I want to see how we respond to it.
“We’re nowhere near where we need to be right now, but we’re getting there. Every game I see improvements in a lot of areas. There are still a lot of things to tweak and get better at, but I’m proud of them. I’m happy where we are right now, but I’m not completely happy because I know we have a lot more improving to do.”