The Centralia Panthers varsity basketball squads each put on in the win column Tuesday night when the hosted and hammered the North Callaway Thunderbirds.
The Lady Panthers won 58-35 and the boys’ squad won 54-40.
Carter Simkins lead the Lady Panthers with 16 points, followed by Mary Kate Bennett with 14 and Gwen Bostick with 11.
Kelly Ausfahl led North Callaway with 14.
On the boys’ side Nic Brooks led the Panthers with 17 points, Dallas Lewis 11 and
Martin Yund with nine.
Gabe Cash led North Callaway with 11.
The Lady Panthers under Coach Becca Schemmer, started strong and never looked back. They led 19-10 at the end of the first quarter, 37-18 at half time and 50-29 going into the fourth.
“I was hoping it would turn out this way,” Schemmer said. “I knew we would face a challenge coming off a 30-point loss… The girls came out hungry.”
She said the Lady Panthers “were a first-half team tonight. In the games that come we can’t pick and choose the quarters we want to play in. Yes, the first two quarters were great, but next time I want to see more follow-up in the third and fourth.”
Lady Thunderbirds head coach Morgan Beamer said Centralia’s rebounding was a key to their victory. “That game came down to rebounds, they had them. They had 15 offensive rebounds on us in the first half. If they converted half, that’s 30 points. They were up by 20 in the first half.”
The boys won every quarter, but North Callaway gave them more a game. The Panthers led 15-9 at the first’s end, 26-20 at halftime and 35-26 going into the fourth.
On the boys’ side Thunderbirds Head Coach Matt Miller said he knew Centralia fans had high expectations and did not expect their Panthers to have to come from behind in the first to get the win.
“We knew we were going to be the underdogs,” Miller said, referring to the seeds for the Centralia Tournament. “We’re the six seed they’re the one seed… They’re a good ball club. We played hard, guarded them, tried to break them down with the dribble-drive, we could compete and hang with them.”
He said they played to their strengths and hoped their speed and ball-handling would keep them in the game.
It did, the led early until John Durant put Centralia on top with a pair of consecutive three-point shots. Nevertheless, the Panthers had to fight break ties twice, on the strength key shots by Brooks and Lewis.
“I figured John Durant and Guy Moran would be on North Callaway’s radar,” Panthers Head Coach Scott Humphrey said of the game and the North Callaway pressure on his two starters. He said that just gave Brooks, Yund and Lewis more opportunities to shine. “Credit to North Callaway, they knew how to defend John and Guy. They didn’t turn it over, they kept us out of transition.”
Over all though, he liked what he saw. “Nic Brooks played really well, Dallas Lewis played really well, especially late. Our defense was good tonight. I was proud of how our guys finished the game. I thought it was good finish for our guys… The best part about us is a different guy can score every night, that’s what’s going to make us hard to guard, that’s what’s going to make us good.”
For more, please see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.