After defeating Wakefield Jan. 21 and Flint Hills Job Corps Friday, the second-seed Centre boys were defeated Saturday in the championship game against first-seed Rural Vista to finish second in the tournament.
The Cougars played a much better first half this time against the Heat than they did earlier when the two teams met in regular season play. They battled hard against a taller, stronger team.
The game began with a 5-0 start for Rural Vista, but Chad Mueller made a free throw, followed by a free throw and a steal for 2 by Ty Simons to bring Centre within 1.
Rural Vista then went on a 9-point scoring streak to build their lead to 14-7. Dakota Stimpson scored a 3-pointer and Simons made a basket and a free throw to narrow the gap to 4 points. After two free throws by Rural Vista, the Heat led 16-10 at the end of the quarter.
The Cougars continued to fight hard in the second quarter. A 3-pointer by Conner Montgomery and a basket by Simons brought the Cougars within 2 points with 5 minutes and 49 seconds remaining.
Rural Vista made a trey, but the Cougars answered with two free throws by Montgomery and a 3-pointer by Nathaniel Engler to tie the game, 23-23, at 4:15. Centre was down by four points at halftime, 27-23.
The second half told a different story. Victory became out of reach in the third quarter when Rural Vista scored five 3-pointers and held Centre to 8 points, taking a commanding 49-31 lead.
Scoring evened out in the fourth quarter, but the Cougars were defeated, 63-43.
Simons led Centre with 18 points, 12 rebounds, and two assists. Other scorers were Mueller, 4; Montgomery, 8; Engler, 3; Kevin Lewis, 3; Stimpson, 5; and Kyle Methvin, 2.
Centre defeated Flint Hills Job Corps Friday, 54-43.
Simons went on a scoring frenzy as the Flint Hills Eagles’ laid-back defense allowed him to get to the basket again and again. He scored 38 points including 15 two-pointers and 8 free throws. He also had 13 rebounds.
Other scorers were Grant Srajer, 5; Stimpson, 4; Mueller, 3; and Montgomery and Methvin, 2 each.
The first-round game against Wakefield Jan. 21 probably was the most evenly matched competition. Centre trailed 19-10 after the first quarter and 28-25 at halftime.
A big third quarter for the Cougars allowed them to pull away from the Bombers and take a 46-38 lead. Scoring was almost even in the fourth quarter, and Centre won by 9 points.
Simons scored 29 points and had 10 rebounds, one assist, and three steals. Methvin had 11 points, four rebounds, and one steal. Other scorers were Srajer, 7; Montgomery, 8; Jared Barney, 3; Justin Bina, 2; and Tanner Peterson, 2.
Simons was named to the all-tournament team. He had a tournament total of 85 points.