GEORGETOWN — Coach Steve Helton describes this high school basketball season so far as riding a roller coaster.
But the Scott County coach doesn't seem to be a fan.
"I just want to get off this roller coaster," he said with a grin after his team beat Madison Central 72-65.
In a battle between two of the best teams in the 11th Region on Monday night, Helton learned that the best way to get to steady ground is with his seniors.
The Cardinals trailed fellow 18th-ranked Madison Central by four points going into the fourth quarter before Scott County's senior combo of Kristen Stainback and Alex McKenzie took over.
The duo, who were pivotal in the Cards' run to the state championship game last season, scored all 11 points of an 11-2 Scott run that ultimately put the game out of reach.
"We knew we weren't producing and we knew it was our job to step up as leaders," said Stainback, who has signed to play at Austin Peay. "We started off a little bit slow. When we came inside (the locker room) coach let us know about it."
Both players seemed a little off in the first half when the Indians led by as many as seven points early.
Stainback scored 20 of her game-high 29 points in the second half.
McKenzie scored 13 of her 20 points in the second half and pulled down a career-best 19 rebounds in the win.
"We just accepted the challenge and knew we needed to come out and help the team get back up," McKenzie said. "It's contagious when one of us starts scoring. So both of us just got going."
Even though Helton doesn't seem to be enjoying the nauseating peaks and valleys of this early season ride, he was pleased to see his team show composure in the second half.
The Cardinals (8-5) were even able to slow the game down at times and wait for good shots, something Helton said they aren't always ready or willing to do.
"Normally, we want to play racehorse basketball," he said. "But there were times tonight when we needed to take the air out of the ball. ... It was good to see us work on taking time off the clock and getting good shots."
Madison Central (9-4), which got 21 points from Larryn Brooks, had a three-game win streak halted. Brooks scored six straight as a part of an 8-2 run that gave the Indians a 14-7 lead early in the game.
Jenna Cornelison added 17 points, three rebounds, four blocked shots and three steals. Erika Parks chipped in 12 points.
It was a good game for both teams to learn from, Helton said.
"It was a great game for early January and we're all going to take something from this," Helton said. "Both teams have stuff we've got to work on and we all know that."
MADISON CENTRAL (9-4) — Cornelison 7-17 1-3 17, Parks 6-8 0-0 12, Bowling 0-1 0-0 0, Congleton 2-11 3-7 7, Hinkle 1-4 1-2 4, Brooks 7-12 7-10 21, Feldhaus 1-5 0-0 2, O'Bryan 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 25-59 12-22 65.
SCOTT CO. (8-5) — Jackson 0-3 0-0 0, Stainback 7-15 15-21 29, Christopher 3-8 1-2 7, Logsdon 1-1 0-0 2, Conrad 1-5 1-2 4, T. Guyn 3-9 4-4 10, I. Guy 0-1 0-0 0, McKenzie 4-9 12-14 20. Totals 19-51 33-43 72.
Madison Central 17 18 16 14—65
Scott Co. 15 16 19 22—72