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Centre ends season in regional semifinal

Staff writer

Centre boys and girls teams both lost to Little River last week in semi-final games during the 1A regional at Goessel.

Playing in the final game of her high school career Friday, senior Kelsey Hett tied her career-high 27 points, about two-thirds of Centre’s 38 points in the Cougars’ 14-point loss to Little River. She made six of 11 3-point attempts and had eight free throws to end her career with 1,041 points.

Centre was outscored 6-13 during the first quarter and 8-17 in the third. A strong 15-17 showing in the fourth quarter was too little too late to save a win.

Alyssa Espinoza made a basket and a free throw, for her only points of the game. Samantha Espinoza scored five points for a total of seven, Hett made two free throws, and Carlye Deines added one.

“Little River played strong defense and challenged most every shot we put up, blocking a number of them with their superior interior height,” coach Alan Stahlecker said.

“We tended not to work the ball on offense much and just took the first available shot. That meant a lot of offensive trips with one and done and then playing defense for a while, not a good formula to make a comeback.”

Though free throw percentages were low in post-season play, Stahlecker said the team ended up breaking the school record for a single season free throw percentage by more than two percentage points, at more than 66%.

Centre fans erupted in cheers last week when Hett scored her 1,000 point at home against Solomon.

Placards stating “1000 Career Points” popped up in the student section, and the game was halted as Tim Vinduska announced the spectacular achievement. Coach Alan Stahlecker presented Kelsey with a white, 1,000-point basketball before the action continued.

Kelsey added another 14 points before the game ended and finished Friday with 1,041 points in her high school career.

Stahlecker said he has coached two others who reached the 1,000-point milestone, Cacey Simons and Shelby Makovec. Kelsey is the fifth leading scorer in team history.

The team ended the season 11-11 overall and 4-5 in the league.

Boys swamped by Redskins

Deadly 3-point shooting by Little River in the boys’ game Thursday left the Cougars in the dust and contributed to a 75-40 loss.

Little River’s Jayden Garrison scored 44 points, including 12 3-pointers.

Centre battled a full-court press most of the game, but a spread out offense and long passes kept the Cougars in control. However, cold scoring at times and frequent turnovers didn’t help them.

The five starting seniors — Jacob Hird, Braxton Smith, Aidan Svoboda, Dalton Stika, and Jensen Riffel — were playing their last game of their high school careers.

Stika, Riffel, and Smith made baskets in the opening minutes of the game, tying six points by Little River. But a 3-pointer by Little River was the beginning of a 12-point run that put the Redskins ahead, 18-7, by the end of the quarter.

Riffel scored eight points in the second quarter, and Hird added four, but Little River had a 12-point lead at halftime.

The Redskins continued to build their lead in the third quarter, scoring at least five 3-pointers and eight free throws. Smith and Stika both made a 3-pointer, and Lane Methvin, Riffel, and Hird also scored, but Little River led, 62-35.

With the clock running, the Redskins scored 13 more points in the fourth quarter while Centre added five, to lose by 35 points.

The Cougars ended the season with a record of 9-12 overall and 3-6 in the league.

Last modified March 5, 2020

 

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