MARTENSDALE — It was a physical, defensive battle most of the way.
But eventually, Central Decatur’s offense got going in a 59-47 win over Martensdale-St. Marys here on Saturday.
With the win, Central Decatur improved to 12-3 in the Pride of Iowa Conference. Entering Tuesday’s games, Interstate 35 also stood at 12-3 with both teams having one game remaining.
Central Decatur hosts Wayne on Tuesday and Interstate 35 travels to Martensdale-St. Marys.
Wins by both Central Decatur and Interstate 35 on Tuesday would mean the two teams would share the Pride of Iowa Conference championship. A win by either team paired with a loss by the other would give the winner sole possession of the POI crown.
“We’ve got to win one more with Wayne, which will be a tough one as they’ve been playing better lately,” Central Decatur head coach Curtis Boothe said. “We’ve kind of been scrapping here lately.”
The Cardinals and Blue Devils went back and forth on Saturday, with neither team gaining much of an advantage through the first three quarters of play.
But, Central Decatur got a pair of big 3-pointers at the start of the fourth quarter from Kate Havens and Hallie Linhart to jump start the offense.
Junior Lydia Martin scored eight of her game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter as Central Decatur went on a 13-2 run after the 3-pointers ignited the offense.
“It’s been that struggle of if we can find our flow offensively, we’re so much better,” Boothe said. “That helped and then everybody else started hitting some inside and outside shots. We made some free throws down the stretch.”
It was the play of freshman Raegan Boothe that kept the Cardinals in the game during the first half. Boothe scored eight of her 14 points in the first half, often times answering a score at the other end of the floor.
“The thing I know I’ll get from Raegan every time is that she’ll play hard,” Boothe said. “She kind of knows exactly what we want since she’s been around the game so much. It’s helped that she can step in there and play as a freshman and still be poised enough that she plays like an upperclassman.”
Linhart finished the game with 16 points to give the Cardinals three players in double figures.