Boys have good week
By Pat McTaggart
Central had three games last week, winning two and losing one. The week started with a game against the Central City Wildcats January 20. Central City used a sagging man defense to hold off the Warriors in a non-conference game on a night with blizzard like conditions outside, and cold shooting on the inside.
In what was the Warriors’ worst shooting night of the season, they went 17 for 54 from the field and were weak at the line. Defensively, Central was able to hold the Wildcats leading scorers to three combined first half points but due to weak offensive play, they trailed 19-15 going into the break. Central tried to keep pace with the Wildcats in the second half, but lost the game by a score of 52-45.
Isaiah Hopp was the lone scorer in double figures with 10. He was followed by Rodenberg with 9; Fults, 7; Kelly, 6; Fitzgerald, 5; Tschirgi, 3; Hilgerson and Backes, 2; and Alexie, 1.
“I thought we did a fantastic job in the first half against their two best players who were both averaging 17 points coming into the game,” said Coach Trevor Arnold. “Our triangle-2 defense was able to limit them to only three, which is what kept us in the game. We did leave a few players wide open and they did manage to hit a few shots but we knew that could happen. Only down by four at half, we know we can look back and say it wasn’t our defense that let us down.”
On January 23 the team faced Ed-Co. Central’s offense was in full swing at Edgewood when the Warriors visited the winless Vikings. A sluggish start by Central proved not to be enough for the Vikings to hold the Warriors off from getting their first conference victory. Ed-Co led most of the game until the Warriors took the lead 65-64 with two minutes left in the game. Central ended up winning the close game with a score of 69-66.
Both teams combined to shoot 57 free throws in the game. Central shot 18 for 29 but Ed-Co went 17 for 38. That proved to be the difference in the ballgame.
Fitzgerald lead the Warriors in scoring going eight for 10 from the field and 3-for-3 from the line, netting 22 points. which is the highest scoring output of the season for Central. Kelly finished with 17; Hopp, 14; Rodenberg 8; and Tschirgi and Hilgerson, 4.
“Offensively, we have been better as of late because of the play of Neil Kelly,” Coach Arnold said. “He has really taken control of our offense. His turnovers are down, assists are up and he has been scoring 10 to 17 points a night for us. We seem to also be getting more scoring throughout the lineup. Not a lot from each guy but two points more each night from each guy really adds up to a solid offensive effort.”
On January 25, the Warriors took on Starmont, winning the game by a score of 51-37, and giving them back-to-back wins for the first time since the 2010 season. It was a game in which Central led from the 4-minute mark in the first quarter on, but midway through the fourth quarter the Stars were able to close the gap to three. Central quickly pushed the lead back to nine and never looked back, tacking on some cushion points from the free throw line and winning the game by a score of 51-37.
Kelly had 14 points during the game. Fitzgerald, Rodenberg and Hopp all had 10; Tschirgi, 4; Alexie, 2; and Hilgerson, 1.
“In a game where Starmont was missing their best post player, we were able to take advantage inside and get 15 offensive rebounds and out rebound them by a margin of 39 to 22,” Coach Arnold said. “We consistently got to the rim and we finished at a higher rate than we do normally.”
“Defensively, I have to hand it to all of our guards,” Coach Arnold continued. “Offensively, we pushed the ball up the court in transition and together as a unit in our zone defense they held Jacob Butler to 11 points. He has been tearing up the conference throughout the season but we held him to his lowest total. We never let him get in a flow and it showed in their point total at the end of the game.”