Courtesy Richard Dickerson, Fireside Guard basketball correspondent
Centralia started the tournament as the underdog versus the Van Far Indians. The Indians brought four Seniors to the party while Centralia only had two returning Seniors and a first year Senior on their end of the court. Returning Senior Cullen Bennett logged the first score of the contest. Travis Brooks would quickly add 5 of his own before returning Senior Noah Kropf and Senior Beau Hatton would close the quarter with scores down 13 to 19 to the Indians. Anthony Ford would down his first score from the arc with Brooks too getting a 3 ball to fall to tie the score at 21. The Panther would keep Van Far from scoring again for the half going to the locker room with a 27 to 21 lead. Logan Rosenfelder got into the act with a 3-pointer to start the third but the well went dry for the next minute and a half for the Panthers. Not until Kropf got a free throw to fall past the halfway point of the period would they score again. Needing another lift from the bench, Dryst Bostick would come in slashing through the lane for a layup after a Centralia time out. The Panthers would close the quarter holding on to a narrow 41 to 34 lead. Brooks and Kropf would put a 10-point margin on the board soon. Van Far’s Seniors would not go away quietly though. Nikos Connaway and Pacey Reading would continue to get Indian 3’s to Panther 2’s to sneak back into the game with under two minutes to play. The Panthers would use a team approach to close with Brooks, Elliott McCoy and Ford all getting key free throws to end the game with a 64 to 52 victory. Unfortunately, that is where the wins stopped for Centralia who would fall to the number one seed Salisbury on Thursday night. That put Centralia against Moberly in the 3rd place game where they would win the opening half 30 to 26 but then trail for the rest of the contest falling to the Spartans 54 to 62.