St. Cloud rolls Auburndale, but tough tests lie ahead

St. Cloud Head Coach Chad Ansbaugh instructs his team during a timeout during the Lady Bulldogs 80-25 win over Auburndale.  

Eno Inyang scored a game-high 28 points and Beca Benge added 17 as the St. Cloud Lady Bulldogs routed Auburndale, 80-25, on Wednesday night.

The win lifted St. Cloud to 4-3 on the season; while Auburndale fell to 2-6.

St. Cloud would control the game from the beginning. Inyang would score 13 first quarter points and St. Cloud would hit three, 3-point field goals to build a 29-11 advantage after one quarter.

Madi Vazquez and Benge would each hit three 3’s in the second period and score 11 points each, as St. Cloud would post a 33-point quarter to build a 62-21 lead at the half.

Under FHSAA rules, the 41-point lead automatically triggered a running clock in the second half.  

Inyang would score a quick eight points in the third to up the lead to 73-23 with four minutes to go.  Head Coach Chad Ansbaugh, who substituted liberally in the first half, would then empty the end of his bench for the rest of the game.

Quinello Francis and Chantelle Thompson led Auburndale with eight points each.

It was the second straight blowout win for St. Cloud, which defeated Tohopekaliga, 85-8, earlier in the week.  “We did some good things tonight but it’s never as good as it looks in a game like this,” Ansbaugh said. “We are improving but we have a long way to go.”

The road will get a lot tougher for the Lady Bulldogs in the coming weeks. St. Cloud will host Plant High School today (Dec. 14) at 5:30 p.m. Even with the “Mercy Rule” in effect, Plant is 7-0 this season, and has been winning their games by an average of 40 points per game. Last year, they went 25-5 last year, but were upset by St. Cloud, 51-49, in the Class 8A Regional Finals last year — which propelled the Lady Bulldogs to a Final Four appearance.

A week later, they will play perennial state power Jacksonville’s Bishop Kenny on the road. Bishop Kenny was a Class 6A state Finalist last year.

“Plant is going to be out for blood after we upset them last year and both they and Bishop Kenny are good enough to get to state this year. They are both going to present tremendously difficult challenges to our team, especially with us missing Angie Rodriguez.”

Rodriguez, a 5-8 junior, injured her knee earlier this season and it is unknown when she will return.

“She’s a difference maker for us,” Ansbaugh said. “Angie can make a 20 point difference in a game — 10 on offense, 10 with her defense.  Hopefully she’ll be back soon.”

County scores and schedule

Celebration (3-2):  Defeated Poinciana, 34-33, Dec. 6; lost to Osceola, 52-24, Dec. 10; Played at Ridge, Dec. 12; Discovery (12/13).

• Gateway (6-1):  Defeated Merritt Island, 68-20, Dec. 6; Lost to Palm Bay, 38-58, Dec. 9; defeated 58-49, 12/10; Played University (Dec. 12); Trinity Christian (Dec. 14); Auburndale (Dec. 16)

• Harmony (1-5):  Lost to East River, 21-66, Dec. 6; Defeated Satellite, 33-28, Dec. 9; Played at Liberty, Dec. 12; St. Cloud, Dec. 17

• Liberty (3-4): Defeated Tavares, 53-29, on Dec. 6; Lost to Haines City, 8-75, Dec. 11; Played at Harmony (Dec. 12); at Discovery (Dec. 18)

• Osceola (3-1):  Lost to Apopka, 44-62, Dec. 4; Defeated Celebration, 52-24, Dec. 10; Played at Lake Minneola, Dec. 12; University, Dec. 18

• Poinciana (1-7): Lost to Celebration, 33-34, Dec. 6; Lost to Lake Howell, 35-40, Dec. 9; Lost to South Lake, 36-37, Dec. 10; Played Four Corners, Dec. 12; at Haines City (Dec. 16); City of Life Christian (Dec. 19)

• St. Cloud (4-3): Defeated Tohopekaliga, 85-8, Dec. 5; defeated Auburndale, 80-25, Dec. 11; Plant, Dec. 14; at Harmony, Dec. 17

• Tohopekaliga (1-5): Lost to Freedom, 47-31, Dec. 5; Lost to St. Cloud, 85-8, Dec. 9; Played Edgewater Dec. 12; at Celebration, Dec. 17