The Centre High School boys’ basketball team finished the regular season on a high note, defeating 2A Chase County on the road Friday, 57-52. The victory followed two winning games the previous week and improved their record to 9-11 heading into sub-state.
On his way to scoring a personal best 27 points, Justin Deines answered an opening 3-point shot by the Bulldogs to tie the game at 3.
Deines and James Wyatt each added field goals and 3-pointers during the remainder of the quarter, but four additional 3-point shots by Chase County put the bulldogs ahead, 19-13, at the end of the quarter.
After a layup by Kordell Harding to open the second period, the Cougars were within 4 points, but the Bulldogs once again pulled ahead to lead by 10 points. Deines and Kyle Methvin each made a basket and a free throw, but Chase County led, 31-24, at halftime.
Victory was in doubt, but several mistakes by the Bulldogs and excellent shooting by Deines gave the Cougars a chance to catch up. A technical on the Chase County coach early in the third quarter resulted in two free throws by Deines. He followed that with a field goal and 3-pointer to tie the game at 31.
An offensive foul on Daulton Crawford of Chase County for use of elbows resulted in another 2 points by Deines at the free-throw line, giving the Cougars their first lead of the game, 33-31.
The game was tied two more times after that, but 5 points by Ty Simons, including a 3-point shot, gave Centre a 38-35 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The game remained close in the final period. Chase County took a 1-point lead with two minutes and 45 seconds remaining. A free throw by Methvin tied the game at 46.
Chase County went ahead by 3, but Harding sunk a 3-pointer to tie the game again at 1:25.
Cougar fans were sitting on the edge of their seats as the game wound down. Wyatt made a field goal to return the lead to Centre with 1 minute remaining.
The clock was down to 24 seconds when Simons made two free throws to give Centre a 4-point lead, 53-49.
Chase County made a 3-pointer to come within 1 point, but two free throws and a field goal by Deines resulted in a 5-point victory for the Cougars.
The 27 points scored by Deines included four 3-pointers and nine free throws. Harding scored 9 points, Wyatt 8, Simons 7, and Methvin 6.
Coach Greg Wyatt said he has seen improvements in the team’s performance throughout the course of the year.
“This is basically a whole new team from last year,” he said, “and they have had to learn a great deal in working together, understanding what is needed to be successful, being consistent, and playing 32 minutes or four quarters and not just part of a game.”
He said the Cougars would travel to either Goessel or Burrton for the first round of the sub-state tournament. Time or place is not yet available.
“It is win or done,” Wyatt said. “It won’t be easy, but if we can put 32 minutes together, anything can happen.”