HAYS — If you play tough defense, you’ll always be in the game.
Central Christian College’s men’s basketball team was supposed to be little more than fodder for NCAA Division II Fort Hays State on Wednesday in an exhibition game at Gross Coliseum, but Central’s defense kept it in it before Fort Hays State emerged with a 64-57 victory.
“Our defense continues to be our strength,” CCC coach Tony Romero said. “We did a good job on that side of the ball versus a very good offensive team. They came into the game averaging 90 points per game, we made them really have to work for shots. The issue for us was we allowed way too many second-chance opportunities throughout the game. Offensively, we were able to get some better movement and I felt we took a step in the right direction, we got some cleaner looks. We had our chances the last two minutes but missed some open looks and a couple free throws late.”
Fort Hays State led only 25-23 at the half and it never led by double-digits at any point in the game.
Jubril Osagie led Central with 17 points while Steve Kuminga came off the bench to add 12. The Tigers were 19 of 54 from the field, but only 8 of 26 from 3-point.
Former Hays High standout Brady Werth led Fort Hays State with 18 points, one more than Marcus Cooper. Trey O’Neil, whose father Glenn was a McPherson College football standout, chipped in with 11.
McPherson High grad Kyler Kinnamon scored 4 points, dished out 4 assists and came up with 6 rebounds while playing 31 minutes. Patyon Stephens, another former Bullpup standout, did not score in his 10 minutes, but had 3 rebounds.
Central takes a 3-1 record into a home game on Friday against Manhattan Christian College. Tip time at Alexander Arena is 7:30 p.m.
Central (57) — Warren 2, Osagie 17, Martin 8, Ard II 2, Aranda 5, Daniels 2, Williams 5, Kuminga 12, Simpson 4.
Fort Hays (64) — Gillum 6, Werth 18, Kinnamon 4, Cooper 17, O’Neil 11, Harrington 8.
• ADAMS STATE WOMEN 92, CENTRAL 55 — The Tiger women went to Colorado for an exhibition game, which doesn’t count toward their record.
Adams State jumped out to a 47-25 halftime lead and cruised from there.
Central was just 19 of 67 from the floor. Kassidy Forsberg scored 13 points and grabbed 9 rebounds to lead the Tigers, while Alexa Gonzales came off the bench for 11 points.
Central plays another exhibition game on Saturday when it goes to Rockhurst for a 2 p.m. matinee.
Central (55) — Forsberg 13, Yannello 9, Golden 8, Banks 7, Gonzales 11, Travino 6, Regier 1.
Adams State (92) — Hadzialljagic 14, Mortensen 11, Neal 10, Harris 6, Merschel 5, Ruiz 15, Meyers 15, Hoiser 6, McDonald 6, Geringer 3, Christiansen 1,