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BLADE HIGH SCHOOL CLASSIC: Irish girls get defensive to top Little Giants


Ja'lyn Lathan of Central Catholic is trapped between Alyssa Palmer, left, and Alex Ferguson of Fremont Ross during the first game of the The Blade Classic at the Huntington Center. <br> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <font color=red><b>VIEW GALLERY:</b></font> <a href="/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20101228&Kategori=SPORTS12&Lopenr=122809997&Ref=PH"> <b> Central Catholic vs. Fremont Ross girls basketball</b></a> Dec. 27, 2010

The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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Central Catholic tipped off the inaugural Toledo Blade High School Basketball Classic against Fremont Ross with one thought in mind.

The Irish wanted to claim the first victory in the history of the event.

"We came out and set the tempo," said Irish senior Ja'lyn Lathan, who pumped in nine of her game-high 16 points in the opening quarter against the Little Giants to lead Central to a resounding 62-36 win Monday afternoon at the Huntington Center.

The Irish (5-1) didn't waste any time taking control against the Little Giants (1-7) in the first of five games of the Classic held in the downtown multi-purpose facility.

An 8-0 run to open the game by the Irish established more than just the game's tempo.

It set the stage for Central's girls team to run away with the victory.

"It was neat," Central coach Marty McGuri said of the opportunity to play in the Huntington Center. "It was a cool experience.

"The kids were all excited about it, and we came out with the win."

Ten players scored at least two points for Central, which forced Ross into committing 26 turnovers, including 11 in the opening quarter when the Irish led by as many as 11 points before taking a 21-12 lead into the second quarter.

Central, which took a 31-18 lead into halftime, put Ross away after intermission by outscoring the Little Giants 31-18 over the final two quarters.

Brianna Rodgers finished with nine points, while Gianae Bluitt and Sidney Shaffer added eight points apiece for the Irish.

"I thought at times we did some nice things," McGuri said. "At times, we got a little sloppy.

"We got lackadaisical at times and we wouldn't finish plays."

Sam Michael led the Little Giants with 10 points, and Bria Simms finished with nine.

Central dictated the play early by applying defensive pressure on Ross' ballhandlers.

Three of Central's first four baskets were layups that came after Giants turnovers.

Rodgers gave Central an 18-7 lead when she scored from close range with just under two minutes left in the first quarter.

Central maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half.

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com or 419-724-6302.

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