Centre boys lose in overtime
Boys take second, girls finish third
In a boys championship game that seemed unending Saturday, seventh-ranked Centre lost to top-ranked Elyria in coaches’ polls by 3 points after battling through four overtimes.
Playing a taller team, Centre used its quickness and speed to outsmart Elyria’s offense. The Cougars’ fierce defense kept Elyria from an inside game and resulted in numerous steals.
Centre led 9-8 after one quarter and maintained its lead until a last-second basket by Elyria tied the game at 39-39, sending it into overtime.
After Elyria opened the first overtime with two 3-pointers, Cody Svoboda made Centre’s only 3-point shot and then made two free throws on a missed Elyria 3-pointer to bring Centre within one, 45-44. Cole Srajer made a free throw to make the score 45-45.
The teams exchanged baskets to open the second overtime, but a technical on Elyria, followed by free throws by Srajer and Max Svoboda, gave Centre a 2-point lead. Elyria made a trey to regain the lead, but a free throw by Xavier Espinoza tied the game at 50-50.
“Whew! We can win it!” coach Richard Idleman was overheard saying to his players as they dried the sweat off their heads at the break. “Let’s keep going.”
Each team scored 4 points in the third overtime. Cody Svoboda made a basket and Srajer stole the ball for another 2 points but missed a free throw. The game was tied at 54-54.
Elyria pulled out to a 5-point lead in the fourth overtime before Aiden Svoboda made a free throw. Max Svoboda made 2 free throws with 12 seconds to go, and a last-second free throw by Elyria resulted in a 3-point loss for the Cougars.
Despite the disappointing loss, senior C.J. Thompson had a positive outlook afterward: “This wasn’t a league game, so we still are tied for first,” he said. “Elyria is coming here in two weeks and we’ll be ready for them. Every game is another step toward substate.”
“I’m dead tired,” Cody Svoboda said. “We had a couple of chances to win, but the ball didn’t roll our way.”
Srajer, who scored a personal-best 39 points in Friday’s 77-71 victory over Marion, was modest about his contribution: “I’d rather win than score a lot,” he said.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” Idleman said. “We fought really hard. It was a tough loss.”
Srajer led scoring Saturday with 20 points, followed by Cody Svoboda with 16.
The Cougars defeated Herington in the first round, 65-60, after leading by as much as 19 points. Cody Svoboda scored a personal-best 30 points.
Centre is 9-3 overall.
Centre girls finished in third place after defeating Herington 57-36.
They led by 4 points at halftime and outscored Herington 17-9 and 17-8 in the final quarters for a 21-point victory.
Emily Schlesener led scoring with 17 points, followed by Kelsey Hett and Kate Basore with 16 points each.
The Lady Cougars easily defeated Solomon in the first round, 40-26, but faced 2A Marion in the semi-finals, losing 59-31.
Their overall record is 7-5.
Last modified Jan. 25, 2018