WHEELING - Shadyside's bomb squad staged a sneak attack Thursday night in Wheeling.
Coach Penn Kurtz's Knights never knew what hit them.
By the time order was restored, the invading Tigers had authored a 32-point, first-quarter assault and Central faced an insurmountable deficit.
Not that the Maroon Knights didn't regroup to make things a little more than interesting. In fact, Central fought back fiercely, closing within six in the final 90 seconds before finally succumbing, 62-54.
"I was happy to see time run out," Shadyside coach Tina Yates said. "I told our kids after that first quarter, we probably wouldn't be able to keep scoring like that."
Though it appeared was hopelessly out of contention, Kurtz watched his team catch fire en route to mounting a big-time rally.
"I can't ever remember seeing a team come out shooting like that," he said. "It seemed everything they were throwing up was going in the basket."
Indeed, Shadyside drained eight 3-pointers via an uncanny display from the perimeter.
A trio of Tigers guards were responsible for the onslaught. Juniors Hayley Holenka and Karli Bonar each went deep three times and sophomore Toni Andes twice dialed long distance.
"It's not like we weren't playing defense," Kurtz said. "I thought we had a hand in their face most of the time. Shadyside was just making them all."
The following two-and-a-half quarters found Central in an inspired comeback mode.
"The girls displayed plenty of character working their way back in the face of adversity," Kurtz added. "I definitely liked what I saw."
Central sliced a one-time, 30-point deficit to 44-24 at halftime, then returned with an even stronger third quarter, pulling within 51-43.
In the end, Holenka and Bonar were forced to drain some clutch hoops to curtail the Knights' charge.
"I couldn't see (our start) coming but the kids seemed really loose coming over here," Yates said. "I thought we backed off a little defensively (the second half) and Central took advantage. They are a very good team."
The Knights' final surge came with a little more than a minute to play when senior Cassie Sorge knocked down a 3-pointer for a 60-54 score.
Holenka, though stemmed the tide, converting a pair of game-sealing free throws to complete a 27-point evening.
Bonar provided 19-point support and Andes scored 11. Junior Kristen Fijalkowski and senior Brooke Meintel brought down seven and six rebounds, respectively.
Central's Emily Bucon registered a team-leading 15 points with junior Colleen McCormick posting a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds).
Sorge scored eight points as did senior Angela Sparachane, who gave the Knights a lift off the bench.