Sunday, May 19, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
Central’s Kyler Fleming (3) goes up for a shot past Cascade’s James Vettrus in Friday’s Oregon West Conference contest. Fleming finished with eight points in the 56-51 loss.
February 13, 2013
INDEPENDENCE -- There was no spread offense, no stalling, no gimmick offense to start the contest.
For the first two quarters, the Central boys basketball team took it to the Oregon School Activities Association's No. 1-ranked Class 4A team.
"We came out playing hard and everything seemed to be clicking. We weren't really turning the ball over too much, shots were falling," Central sophomore Kyler Fleming said of Friday's first half against Cascade.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, the Cougars waited for the most crucial two quarters to flex their muscles a bit.
Erasing a six-point halftime deficit, Cascade used a stingy zone defense and utilized the free-throw line on offense to regain the lead and come away with a 56-51 Oregon West Conference victory.
"We just couldn't keep the intensity up," said Fleming, who started Friday's contest and finished with eight points.
"We kind of settled for that lead -- we just need to work on that a little bit more."
The Panthers (15-6, 4-4 OWC after Tuesday's 40-34 win over Taft after the Itemizer-Observer went to press ) started the contest on a good note by hitting shots.
Fleming scored six points and Kelton Chapman (10 points) added four in a strong first quarter, while Central teammate Tell Cruickshank (eight points) drilled two 3-pointers in the second frame to help the Panthers take a 26-20 lead at the break.
The offensive success, however, came when Cascade (21-1, 7-1) ran a man-to-man defense. The Cougars switched it up in the second half, going to a trapping zone that slowed Central's offense.
"We just kind of had that defensive lineup out there - we've just got to try to somehow find a way to score enough points," Central coach Bob McBeth said.
Despite the loss, Central's strength of schedule -- notably the strength of the OWC -- has kept the Panthers in the No. 6 spot in the OSAA power rankings.
That could prove to be a key factor if the defending state champions hope to reach Gill Coliseum as one of the final eight teams in the Class 4A state tournament.
"If we can take care of business these next three games, it's looking like we could get two home playoff games to get to the tournament because our RPI is so high -- which is insane," McBeth said. "We're kind of living by the RPI right now, and we'll take it."
Fleming echoed that sentiment.
"We're all prepared, we're all ready to do it -- we just have to do it now," he said. "Practice this week and practice last week, they've been good. That's how we came out so strong against these two teams (Cascade and Philomath), we've just got to finish the game.
"We're not done yet."
Stayton at Central
When: Friday, 5:30 p.m.
Central at Newport
When: Tuesday, 5:30 p.m.