LOYSBURG - Northern Bedford's Cierra Cottle takes more pride in her defense than her offense.
She can take pride in both after her performance against Central Monday.
The junior guard scored 21 points and made a couple of steals during a pivotal 10-0 run to help Northern Bedford defeat Central, 70-57, in girls basketball.
"Hustle and quick hands," Cottle said when asked about the steals. "If we can keep playing this way, it'll take us far."
Cottle was far from a one-woman show. She got plenty of help from her teammates.
Ashley McGhee, who made 14-of-15 free throws, equaled Cottle with 21 points. Leah Hershberger scored 16, and Alyssa Smith added eight as Northern Bedford improved to 14-3. Central fell to 10-6.
The four combined to hit seven 3-pointers in the first half that played a big role in putting the Lady Panthers up 12 at halftime.
Northern sewed up the win from the free-throw line, making 19-of-23 in the second half. The team finished 25-of-30 from the line.
"That's great for us. We've been struggling from the foul line," Northern coach Todd Eckenroad said. "We finally put together four quarters of good basketball. Central's a good team. This is a great win for us."
Northern maintained a double-digit lead late into the third quarter, but Central scored five straight points in the final 1:20 of the period to make it a 47-42 game heading to the final period.
The Lady Panthers quickly regained control of the game with a 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter.
After Hershberger made two free throws, the junior guard got an easy layup when Cottle and McGhee teamed up on a steal near midcourt.
Cottle turned another steal into a layup and then scored on a driving lay-in. She capped the run with yet another steal that led to a pair of free throws.
"All of our guards have quick hands. Cierra, Ashley, Leah and Alyssa all give teams a lot of problems," Eckenroad said.
Central coach Shelley McCune agreed.
"They've got good guards. They handle the ball well and shoot the 3. From the opening tip to the end of the game they played hard," McCune said.
Lindsey Smith had a double-double to lead Central. The senior forward scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Ashley Smith added 15 points.
McCune pointed to the first half as the team's undoing.
"We didn't get off to a good start. The kids were hesitant and put too much pressure on themselves," she said. "After we settled down, we played much better. We put ourselves in an early hole, but I'm pleased with the way we played in the second half."
CENTRAL (57): Bean 1 1-2 4, L. Smith 6 10-13 22, Blattenberger 2 2-2 6, McKnight 3 0-0 7, A. Smith 4 5-6 15, Shriver 1 0-0 3, McGraw 0 0-0 0. Totals - 17 18-23 57.
NORTHERN BEDFORD (70): McGhee 3 14-15 21, Cottle 7 5-8 21, Hershberger 4 6-7 16, Smith 3 0-0 8, Beach 2 0-0 4, Potter 0 0-0 0, Cronrath 0 0-0 0. Totals - 19 25-30 70.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central12 13 17 15 - 57
Northern Bedford16 21 10 23 - 70
3-point goals: Central 7 (Cottle 2, Hershberger 2, Smith 2, McGhee); Northern Bedford 5 (A. Smith 2, Shriver, McKnight, Bean).
Records: Central (10-6); Northern Bedford (14-3).
Officials: Justin Fischer, Rod Brumbaugh, Craig Elbin.
JV: Central, 28-21, OT. High scorers-McGraw, C, 12; Drenning, NB 7.