Lady Panthers lose 63-61
Boys lose, 68-56
Centralia’s basketball senior night had its moments. Seeing 19 senior basketball players and cheerleaders lined up across Jim Enlow Court may have been a big one for many.
Or, the two hard-grinding, head-to-head, never-say-die, Panther versus Panther basketball games, may have been the ticket to Friday night thrills.
Both Centralia teams held the lead at various points of the game and though both eventually gave up the lead, they made the Monroe City squads earn every basket.
For Centralia’s Lady Panthers it was a one-to-two point game almost from the start
MonroeCity’s Lauren Youngblood scored first, to back to back baskets, then Mary Kate Bennett hit back for Centralia, followed by Baylee Beard, to make it 6-4, Monroe City.
A minute later Jocelynn Bostick sank a west-side three point shot to give Centrlaia the lead, 7-6.
Monroe City scored back repeatedly, but consecutive jump shots by Harper Sontheimer kept Centralia in the game. When the score hit 12-11, Monroe City, Chris Heimann but Centralia back on top with an east-side three to make it 14-12, Centralia with a 90 seconds left in the first quarter.
Monroe City came back at the end to finish the first ahead, 15-14.
The second was more of the same and Monroe City kept and lost the lead several times, especially when Bennett’s free-throws came into play and helped them retake the lead 23-22.
Her jump shots and Sontheimer’s free throws, helped Centralia thwart a Monroe City comeback and tie the game at 26, again, with 90 seconds left in the quarter.
Again, Monroe City took the quarter at the end, leading at halftime, 35-33.
The consistently kept the lead, barely for most of the third, until Anna Romine tied the game for Centralia at 47-47 with a buzzer-beating three-point shot from the top of the key.
In the end Monroe City pulled it off, by two, winning 63-61.
Bennett led Centralia with a game-high 23 points, Heimann followed with 10 and Bostick scored eight.
Riley Quinn led Monroe City with 15.
On the boys’ side of the score-book, Centralia may have given number-5 ranked Monroe City their toughest first quarter of the season.
Centralia’s boys started the first quarter shooting and scoring from all angles.
The only downside was the main focus of their high-pressure man-to-man defense seemed to be Dallas Lewis.
“He does more than just shoot,” Monroe City Head Coach Brock Edris said afterward, explaining the focus on Lewis. “He is a force on the court. He rebounds, he defends, he communicates. I don’t know any coach that would be glad to coach him, have him on their team.”
That had an upside. While Monroe City’s Travante Murphy seemed glued to Lewis, that left John Durant and Guy Moran, with occasional input from Nic Brooks to roam and score freely from the outside and the inside.
At one point Centralia was up 11-3 over Monroe City and visions of district championship plaques may have been dancing in the heads of the Black and White’s fans.
For the first several minutes, Monroe City’s only score was Josiah Talton’s game-opeing there point shot.
Monroe City scratched away a the lead, but when the buzzer sounded, Centralia had won the first quarter, 13-8.
But by 4:06 in the second Monroe City had tied the game at 18 points.
A Talton three-pointer gave them the lead, but Durant and Moran took it back, giving Centralia a 24-23 lead with 1:19 left in the half.
Monroe City squeaked in a few and took the half back, entering half time with a 25-24 lead.
They took control of the pace and the game in the third. That is when Monroe City scored 28 points to Centralia’s 13.
“They got us to speed up the tempo and that made us take the shots they wanted us to take instead of the shots we wanted to take,” Centralia Assistant Coach Chad Thall said afterward. “You don’t want to be forced into making quick shots when you’re playing Monroe City.”
Monroe City finished the third quarter ahead 53-37 and even though Lewis broke lose in the fourth, Monroe City finished the game 68-56.
Durant and Jackson Wells led Centralia with 15 points each, followed by Lewis with 11 and Moran with eight.
Centralia is now 18-5 and Monroe City, 21-2.
For more, see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.