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4A BOYS BASKETBALL: Central struggles in two opening league losses

INDEPENDENCE -- With its leading scorer, floor general and overall team leader Chan Bal out with a knee injury, the Central boys basketball team would have liked some time to regroup.

Central’s Kelton Chapman (4) goes in for a steal against a Cascade’s Paul Vettrus in Friday’s 47-36 loss in Turner.

Photo by Pete Strong

Central’s Kelton Chapman (4) goes in for a steal against a Cascade’s Paul Vettrus in Friday’s 47-36 loss in Turner.

January 23, 2013

INDEPENDENCE -- With its leading scorer, floor general and overall team leader Chan Bal out with a knee injury, the Central boys basketball team would have liked some time to regroup.

With two straight road matchups against their chief rivals in the Oregon West Conference, the Panthers didn't get any.

After sustaining their largest margin of defeat of the season in a 57-26 loss to Philomath Jan. 15, Cascade held on for a 47-36 victory Friday to make the Panthers - still ranked No. 6 in the latest Oregon School Activities Association Class 4A power rankings -- 0-2 to start league play.

After the Itemizer-Observer went to press Tuesday, Central picked up its first OWC win with a 58-45 victory over Taft.

Against Philomath, it was a tale of two shooting performances: the Warriors were 21 for 34 (61.8 percent) from the field, while the Panthers were woeful from the 3-point line, shooting 3 for 28.

"We were stone cold -- it's incredible that we could miss that many," Central coach Bob McBeth said.

Friday, Central -- now utilizing the services of two freshman point guards, Harkey Bal (Chan Bal's younger brother) and Aaron Hobgood -- used a bit of stall ball to keep the game close.

"We just wanted to give ourselves a chance," McBeth said of his strategy. "I thought we played a lot more inspired than we did at Philomath, but we still don't have that firepower yet to score enough points to give us a chance like that. I'm hoping in a month, we can."

Kelton Chapman scored seven points to lead Central (12-4, 1-2) in the loss to Philomath and Mikael Fant scored a team-best nine points in Friday's loss at Cascade.

Central travels to Stayton Friday for a 7 p.m. Oregon West Conference game.

NEXT GAMES

Central at Stayton

When: Friday. Girls, 5:30 p.m.; Boys, 7 p.m.

Newport at Central

When: Tuesday. Girls, 5:30 p.m.; Boys, 7 p.m.

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