COLUMBUS — Jordyn Popple scored the final five points of the game Thursday to give Central Community College a 78-73 home win over Mount Marty’s junior varsity team in the Raiders’ season opener.
Popple, who finished with 12 points, hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:12 left to put Central on top 76-73, then made a layup on a fast break in the final seconds to seal the win.
The Central men also picked up a victory over Mount Marty JV, defeating the Lancers 97-76 to move to 2-0 on the season.
Popple’s 5-0 run to end the women's game completed Central’s fourth-quarter comeback. Trailing 63-59 heading into the final 10 minutes of play, the Raiders clamped down defensively, allowing only 10 points in the fourth quarter after the Lancers shot lights-out in the first three quarters.
“We just had to go with the process and eventually their legs got tired,” Central women's head coach Billy Perkins said. “We just had to close out harder and let them put it on the floor. They really pressed hard.”
With just six players in uniform for Thursday's game, Central’s offseason work paid off in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve had a hard offseason. We really worked the girls to get in shape,” said Perkins, who won his first game as Central’s head coach. “The girls made up their mind that we were going to win the game.”
Schuyler graduate Maddy Wolfe scored a game-high 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds to lead the Raiders. Jada Warner added 14 points and six assists.
The Central men used balanced scoring in their blowout win.
Five players scored in double figures with four scoring at least 17 points. Jaxon Simons and Latrell Talley each had 19 points and Talley pulled down 14 rebounds, his second double-double in as many games.
Osceola graduate Bennett Nelson scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Zach Rice-Gordon made four 3-pointers while adding 17 points.
Marquis Dotson scored 14 points off the bench for the Raiders, who led 44-33 at halftime and pulled away after the break.
Both Central teams have home games Monday as the men host Hastings College's junior varsity team and the women play Iowa Central Community College. The men’s game starts at 5 p.m. with the women’s game following.