Granted, it was a national championship-level program, but Central women's basketball coach Billy Perkins wasn't ready to give the Concordia JV all the credit on Monday night.
After all, it was the varsity that won that national title, and these were the backups of the backups. Although some struggles were expected out of the gate, he said he was hoping for much more than an 89-51 loss to open a new season.
The good news was that there's a long way to go, and there's only one way to go from here.
"A lot of it is, they're a good team all the way from varsity to JV. Their aggressive style of defense really hurt us in the long run because we weren't used to that kind of physicality. But we did a lot of things we can correct and get better," Perkins said.
"We need to do the little things right. Yeah, they're good. But they're not 89 points good."
The Concordia JV led 15-11 after one then exploded for 27 second-quarter points and 29 third-quarter points en route to leads of 42-21 at the break and 71-35 through 30 minutes of play.
Turnovers were a big reason. Official stats after the game were somewhat generous toward Central mistakes. The numbers showed 27 giveaways. Perkins said he believed there were many more than that.
"We have to really just do what we do and not worry about them, control the pressure and control the tempo," he said. "We weren't so good at that tonight."
Concordia scored 36 of its total off Central mistakes including 13 during a 15-2 run in the second quarter that essentially put the game out of reach.
The Bulldogs scored seven of the first 11 points in the frame then turned a 22-15 lead into a 37-17 advantage in a matter of moments. Monica Brooks stopped a 6-0 run with two free throws, but Concordia then scored the next nine in a row before she stopped that run with an offensive putback.
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The Bulldogs also scored the final five points of the quarter and had the Raiders doubled up at the intermission.
After initially playing tough, Perkins felt his group lost its spark when the speed of the game became a factor.
"We were trying to find our legs," he said. "We played hard. Defensively, the first quarter we did good, but then I thought we got a little winded. We'll bounce back."
Brooks led Central with 13 points but was just 4 of 15 shooting and had six rebounds. Isabel Diaz with 12 points and Sydni Whitted with 10 were also in double digits.
"Monica has grown a lot from last year with her range and game. But we need to rely on everybody to get better," Perkins said. "For Monica to get where she needs to be, everybody has got to step up."
Central shot 30 percent from the floor, 27 percent from long range and hit on 12 of 18 free throws. Concordia hit on 39 percent including 40 percent from 3.
Three different Central players had at least three turnovers, including one that had eight.
"We'll have to go back and look at the film and why we were struggling so much," Perkins said. "It's really a matter of looking at film and correcting those things."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com