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January 16, 2013
Central at Cascade
When: Friday. Girls, 5:30 p.m.; Boys, 7 p.m.
Taft at Central
When: Tuesday. Girls, 5:30 p.m.; Boys, 7 p.m.
Itemizer-Observer staff report
SCAPPOOSE -- With starting point guard Chan Bal possibly out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, a once dominant Central boys basketball team just became very vulnerable.
Bal, a two-year starter who was averaging 14.7 points per game prior to the contest he exited in the first quarter -- a 58-56 overtime loss to Yamhill-Carlton Jan. 8 -- is in the process of getting a second opinion, but the original prognosis looks grim: a partially torn ACL and a torn lateral meniscus.
"We don't know right now, but we're trying to prepare as if he's not going to be back," Central coach Bob McBeth said Monday.
After Y-C handed Central (11-2 entering Tuesday's Oregon West Conference opener at Philomath) its first loss, the Panthers were forced to take on a tough matchup at La Salle last Wednesday without Bal and starter Grant Lindley, who missed the game due to illness.
Central fell again, 47-28.
"Defensively, I was happy with where we were at," McBeth said, "but we couldn't score. We just have to find a way to score points."
So far, the Panthers are replacing Bal's position "by committee" said McBeth, while giving Swedish exchange forward Michael Fant more playing time.
Fant came through in Friday's 43-40 nonleague win at Scappoose, scoring a season-high 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting.
The immediate road doesn't get any easier for Central, which traveled to Philomath Tuesday after press time and then will face the Oregon School Activities Association's No. 1 team, Cascade, on Friday.
Entering Tuesday's contests, the Cougars were unbeaten at 14-0.
The Central girls basketball team picked up two nonleague victories last week, defeating visiting Yamhill-Carlton 49-45 Jan. 8 and then topping Scappoose on the road Friday, 62-29. Maddie Pape led the Panthers (9-4 entering Tuesday's game at Philomath) in both contests, scoring 23 points in the win over Y-C and 19 points in Friday's victory at Scappoose. Catherine Cutsforth added 12 points against Y-C. Mo Tapasa had 12 points and Ryanne Huffman scored 10 Friday against the Indians.