It was a good night to be a Panther fan.
The Centralia Panthers boys’ and girls’ basketball teams celebrated homecoming by hosting and beating Clarence Cannon Conference rivals, the South Shelby Cardinals in a night of varsity basketball.
The Lady Panthers won 55-42 and are now 8-9 for the season.
The boys won 72-36 and are now 14-3.
Mary Kate Bennett led the Lady Panthers with a game-high 19 points, backed up by Jozelynn Bostick with 16. Baylee Beard and Joella Melegrito scored
Guy Moran led the Panthers, and the game, with 25 points, backed up by Dallas Lewis with nine. Jackson Wells, Grant Irishman and Riley McCoy each scored eight.
Both teams dominated by scoring “firstest and mostest.”
There girls game began with Anna Romine scooting in for two in the first second of the game, with Bennett scoring a layup immediately after. By the end of the first, the Lady Panhters led 17-4 and were up 25-14 by halftime.
On the boys side, Moran and Lewis treated the Cardinals to a basketball avalanche. Off the buzzer, both score quick two-pointers, then Moran started sinking threes. By the 6:50 mark Centralia was up 7-0. Moran then sank a three and another two to make it 12-0 Centralia by the 5:40 mark.
“Guy was on fire tonight,” Panther Head Coach Scott Humphrey said.
“Centralia was just dominant tonight,” said Luke O’Laughlin South Shelby’s head boys and girls basketball coach. “We just had to pick our poison. They are
too good for a Zone defense, so we just had to try Man-to-Man and hope we could limit some of their looks.”
Regarding both games, he was more focused on what his teams could do as opposed to what might be coming down the court.
“We could have shot better,” he said of both games. “The girls, we’ve got to learn to work through a bad shot and keep trying to play the best ball we can.”
Regarding the boys game, he said, “We’re a young team, Centralia was shooting better than we were and they are bigger and more experienced.”
Both Centralia Coaches saw tonight’s win as an important one.
“This breaks a little bit of a rough patch for us,” said Becca Schemmer, Lady Panthers head coach. “Tonight we defined the game with our defense. We knew South Shelby had a good offense, but we set the pace with Anna and Mary Kate getting us on the board first and we went right to a very intense defense… It looked like zone, but it was Man, we were just playing it so well tonight. Anna’s score from our first possession electrified the crowd and really got the girls up… We have eight games left until district and this is just what we need. It will give us the momentum to carry us through.”
She also complimented Kalin Finlay’s contribution to the defense. “We put her on their best player, Mallory Wood and she did a fantastic job of keeping her down.”
“We used their youth, lack of experience and lack of size to our advantage,” Humphrey said afterward. “Riley McCoy did a great job for us off the bench and everybody shot the ball well tonight. This was a good cap to a really big week that saw us beat Boonville and win the Macon Tournament against a good Kirksville team.”
Next week the team has four games on the road, not including the Battle Freshman Tournament.
For more, see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.