Central boys finish week 1-2

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In the win over West Central, Parker Vaughn had 10 points, two assists and two rebounds for the Warriors. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Corey Weber scores an uncontested lay up against West Central.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

The Central boys basketball season got off to a big start against the West Central Blue Devils on Dec. 1, as the Warriors dominated in a 57-32 victory, holding the Blue Devils to less than 10 points in each of the first three periods. 

As a team, the Warriors shot 39.7 percent from the field, making 23 of 58 shots, and from long range they went 10 for 26. More than half of the team’s 57 points came from three pointers. 

Aside from the shooting, the Warriors played a complete game, overwhelming the Blue Devils on the boards with a 34-21 rebound advantage, to go along with 16 assists and eight steals. 

“The biggest challenge heading into the first week is always trying to prepare for everything that opponents might throw at us. Getting guys to understand and remember offensive plays, out of bounds plays and press breaks while still getting into basketball condition is a tough thing to accomplish in two weeks,” coach Brady Stramer added. 

Evan Pensel led the team in points, with 18, going 6 for 13 with five three pointers. He also added four rebounds and two assists to the stat line. Hazen Loan scored 11 points and led the team with 13 rebounds. Parker Vaughn added 10 points, two assists and two rebounds, and Dan McGreal finished with seven points and led the team with four assists.  

The Warriors next took on the Kee Hawks on Dec. 4, losing a 57-55 heartbreaker when the Hawks mounted a fourth period comeback to steal the victory. 

The Warriors led after three periods, 44-36, but the Hawks out-scored Central 21-11 when it mattered the most. 

Central shot 38.1 percent from the field and were nine of 28 from the three-point arc. They had significantly more free throw attempts than the Hawks, 25-11, but only made 14 of them, leaving 11 points on the court that would’ve secured the victory. 

The Warriors also had 26 rebounds, 12 assists and eight steals, but turned the ball over 23 times. It’s an area they will look to clean up moving forward. 

In the game, C.J. Polkinghorn came off the bench to score 11 points and led the team in rebounds, with seven. Vaughn added 11 points, three rebounds and two steals, while teammates Pensel and Ashton Burroughs each scored nine points. Pensel also had four rebounds and two assists, while Burroughs had one rebound and one steal. Loan scored eight points and led the team in assists, with six, while also securing four rebounds and two steals. 

“Having 23 turnovers, 10 of which being in the fourth quarter against a quality opponent like Kee, is not a recipe for success,” Stramer said. “I felt like we played three solid quarters, but let the moment get to us in the fourth. Frankly, having 23 turnovers and still being right there at the end of the game shows how good our team can be if we take better care of the ball and cut down those turnover numbers.”

“Certainly a tough loss to take, but there were a lot of positives to take away, and a learning experience for when we are in similar positions later in the season,” he added.

In the final game of the week, the Warriors were defeated 75-27 by the stifling defense of the Springville Orioles.

“I felt like the team came ready to play Saturday, but frankly were overwhelmed early and often by a very good Springville team. Games like that are hard to find positives in, but I am a firm believer that playing great teams will help us get better,” Stramer said. 

As of this writing, there were no stats listed on the Varsity Bound website. 

As for how the season is unfolding so far, Stramer said, “We had a good feeling about our team’s ability to shoot the basketball and knew that our biggest focus point had to be turnovers. If we take care of the basketball like we did against West Central, we will be in a lot of games, but if we turn the ball over at the rate we did against Kee and Springville, we will have a tough time winning games.” 

“Our defensive energy and communication have been consistent so far this season, which has been great to see,” Stramer continued. “I am encouraged with where we are at as a team and am confident that we will continue to grow and improve. This is a great group of guys that believe in one another and want to see each other succeed.”

The Warriors look to rebound this week in a home game against Clayton Ridge on Dec. 8. They will travel to North Fayette Valley on Dec. 11. 

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