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Central's LexyJo Deneke, 20, attempts a shot during the girls basketball game against Sioux Falls O'Gorman in Rapid City on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Journal staff)

Rapid City Central girls basketball coach Kraig Blomme doesn’t want his Cobblers to live and die by the 3-point shot. 

Although Blomme stresses the importance of getting the ball to the post, there’s no denying the Cobblers have thrived when shots have fallen from behind the arc. Central averages five made 3-pointers per game. Those makes account for 31.4 percent of the Cobblers’ 47.7 average points scored per game. 

In a pair of wins this season, including last Thursday’s 48-38 victory over crosstown rival Rapid City Stevens, Central (9-7) has made eight triples. 

Though the Cobblers have made 80 treys on the season, they aren’t all about shooting 3s. Many makes have come after the Cobblers get the ball inside to starting junior forward Tori Holt or reserve sophomore forward Grace Weeks. Their scoring presence and touches in the post draw in the defense. 

That gives Central’s guards space, which is exactly what Blomme wants.  

“We try to get the ball inside before we do anything,” Blomme said. “The defense kind of pulls to where the ball goes, and that sometimes helps you get open on the perimeter.”

Leading the shooting barrage from distance is Chelsey Carmichael. The 5-foot-8 junior guard has swished a team-leading 28 triples and has hit four 3s in a game twice, including in last week’s win over Stevens. 

“I shoot a lot with my dad in the gym,” Carmichael said. “I think it was just second nature to pop the 3s.”

Stevens transfer and junior guard LexyJo Deneke has hit 19 3s. Junior point guard Taylor Bauer has made 17, while senior guard Aly Gibson and junior forward Katrina Mellegard have each hit five. 

The 5-11 Mellegard had only hit two shots from behind the arc prior to nailing three in the second half against the Raiders. Her performance followed  Carmichael’s three 3s in the first quarter, including the first two of the game. 

“Chelsey scored the first six points from 3s and we were all excited,” Mellegard said. “Normally, I don’t shoot the ball that much, but I decided that I needed to relax, take a deep breath and knock them down.”

Now, the Cobblers look to knock out wins at Naasz Gymnasium to wrap up the regular season and maintain their position at the top of the District 4AA standings — Central leads Stevens by 3.13 seed points. The Cobblers have four straight home games coming up, starting with contests Friday and Saturday against  Class AA second-ranked Sioux Falls Washington (12-2) and Lincoln (7-6).   

“It’s nice to have a stretch of games at home in front of your home fans,” Blomme said. “It’s always a little tougher for teams if they’re traveling to Rapid City. For a team that’s riding the bus, it’s definitely a long ride. It’s nice to get some home games and play in front of our home fans.”

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