GPS coach Jennifer "Curly" Johnson has been around basketball long enough to where it's easy for her to determine good from bad when it comes to effort and all of those little things that go into a successful high school program.
Her Bruisers improved to 10-1 overall with their third straight win at Central on Monday night and the score wasn't close as the visitors headed back to North Chattanooga with a 63-46 win.
While the first-year head coach at times has a hard time getting upset and vocal in her criticism of her own players, there were a few things in Monday's game that she was a bit miffed over.
"I guess I'm pretty happy with what I saw tonight, but we're still lazy and lax on defense. I keep telling my post players that they need to crash the boards for rebounds, but for whatever reason, they don't," the former All-State player who starred at Red Bank expressed.
"This is the tough part of the season, but everybody is getting better. The biggest question is 'Are we?' We don't have a lot of experienced players on the floor this year as we only have two returning starters, but we're getting better every day.
"We knew that Central would be greatly improved over the last time we played them, but we just didn't play a good game defensively and we got into foul trouble," she concluded before going to address her team.
The Bruisers had beaten the Lady Pounders by more than 30 the first time they played, but this game started out like it might be a decent contest.
Sandrea Sylman, who led all scorers with 18 points, converted a three-point play early in the game to give Central a 5-5 tie before a jumper from Alexus Mitchell gave the Lady Pounders a 7-5 lead with 3:28 showing in the first quarter.
Kelby Crownover nailed a 3 from the wing to give GPS an 8-7 lead before Shamiya Jones answered with a 3 of her own as the lead went back to Central, 10-8.
GPS then went on an 11-2 run in the final two minutes and what had been a close game started to be a bit one-sided.
Rebekah Hill's drive from the wing in the final 30 seconds was the only bucket scored by Central in the final 2:50 as the Bruisers had a 19-12 lead at the first break.
A drive by Sylman at the 4:23 mark of the second quarter got Central within eight at 27-19, but GPS went on a 10-1 run in the next two minutes and were comfortably ahead 37-20 following a jumper from the wing by Reagan Williams with 1:45 to play before the half.
Sylman scored on a drive down the lane as the clock was winding down as the difference was 42-28 at intermission.
The Lady Pounders got to within 10 midway through the third quarter before the Bruisers slowly pulled away.
Central coach Rick May, like Johnson, appeared to see more bad than good.
"That first quarter was turnover city for us as we had 10 during that stretch, but GPS had a lot to do with that," May said after his girls had fallen to 6-4 for the season.
"We saw a few sparks in the third quarter, but we had already dug ourselves a hole and just never could get over that hump. I'm disappointed with our effort, but I'm pleased that we didn't give up. This game was a little better than the first one as far as the point differential is concerned.
"We stayed with them for a while, but the best thing about this game is that it doesn't affect our district record," the veteran Central coach added.
Akia Harris scored 17 points to lead three GPS players in double figures.
Kara Ware was next with 15 while Sydney Shutters added 11. Williams finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
Sylman's 18 points topped the Lady Pounders while Jones finished with nine points and Madison Rogers eight.
Central won the rebound battle by a 32-22 margin with Mitchell and Hill both grabbing seven and Sylman six.
Neither team has a game until after Christmas with GPS facing East Hamilton on Dec. 26 in the first round of the Best of Preps tournament at Chattanooga State. Central will return to action the next day in the Hixson tournament.
GPS 19 23 8 13 -- 63
CENTRAL 12 16 9 9 -- 46
GPS (63) -- A. Harris 17, Shutters 11, Williams 8, Ware 15, Crownover 5, Morgan 3, Spears 2, Hudson 2, K. Harris, Newbold, Martin.
CENTRAL (46) -- S. Jones 9, Ransom, Rogers 8, Davis 2, Sylman 18, Mitchell 2, Hixson, Feist, N. Jones, Hill 3, Miller, East 2.
3-POINT GOALS: GPS 3 (Shutters, Crownover, Morgan); Central 3 (S. Jones, Rogers, Sylman).
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)