Centre ends season as sub-state runner-up
Playing without high-scorer Mikey Silhan, who suffered a broken hand during practice, Centre faced a team in Saturday’s sub-state championship game that had no height and a limited roster of eight.
The Central Plains Oilers had won only one game in the regular season. Centre was 10-10.
But Centre got off on the wrong foot, turning the ball over in its first three possessions.
The Oilers were quick to the basket and had an eight-point run at the end of the first quarter to lead, 12-7.
Centre trailed by 10 points near the end of the first half, but Luke Hudson made a basket as time ran out, closing the gap to seven.
The Cougars came out with guns blazing in the third quarter. They took a 32-31 lead with 1:51 left, and the game was tied, 35-35, at the end of the quarter.
Hudson had five two-point baskets and two treys, and Tanner Stuchlik made a basket.
After a brief 37-35 Centre lead, Central Plains scored five points. Santiago Knepp then made a free throw and Hudson nailed a three-pointer to put Centre within one point as time ran down.
However, the Oilers scored another four points to win, 46-41.
Free throws were a key to the game. Central Plains was 10 of 12 from the line while Centre converted only one of six.
Hudson scored 30 points and had 15 rebounds and five steals. Sophomore Gentri Holub scored eight points in the first half but got into foul trouble in the third quarter and didn’t play again until the final minutes.
Coach Richard Idleman attempted to be upbeat after the disappointing loss.
“It was unfortunate that we lost Mikey,” he said, “but I thought we had a decent season considering the slow start and loss of several weeks of practice.
“This was one of the most enjoyable bunch of seniors that I have ever coached. They wanted to win, and they gave it all they had.”
Centre reached the sub-state’s championship game by defeating Otis-Bison, 49-31, in a Thursday game.
Silhan again was unable to contribute, but in honor of his past contributions to the team, Idleman made him a starter. He played for a few minutes before being replaced.
The contest was close, with not much scoring in the first half. Centre trailed by one point at halftime, 16-17.
The second half was another story as Centre took a 30-22 lead in the third quarter. A strong defense kept opponents from getting inside baskets. Stuchlik made a three-pointer, the only Centre trey in the game, to give Centre the lead.
Hudson added seven points, and Nick Krch made two free throws to add to Centre’s lead.
The fourth quarter belonged to Centre, outscoring Otis-Bison, 19-9.
Krch and Holub each scored six points. Quinten Bina added two points, and Hudson made a free throw before Santiago Knepp scored Centre’s final four points.
Three players scored in double digits. Hudson had 16, Holub 12, and Krch, 10. Hudson led in rebounds and steals.
Last modified March 9, 2022