It may have been the most heartbreaking loss in Tony Romero’s Central Christian College coaching career.
Romero’s Tigers were 2 minutes away from an MCAC signature victory here Friday, leading powerful College of the Ozarks by 14 points. But Ozarks took advantage of some CCC turnovers and made every shot it looked at down the stretch to rally for a shocking 85-84 victory.
“That's a tough one,” said Romero, whose team is now 1-7 in the MCAC but much better than its record indicates. “I felt we controlled the game for 38 of the 40 minutes, but just couldn't finish. Just too many mental errors down the stretch. No time to sulk, we have to find a way tomorrow to bounce back."
Central led 39-26 at the half and seemingly was in control of the game throughout before the fantastic rally by the Bobcats.
Aaron Miller, who missed the Tigers’ last game with an injury, led CCC with 22 points and Michael Gholston contributed 15. Also in doubles were Daniel Nwosuh (14) and Kris Quant (11).
The Tigers are hosting Central Baptist College at 5 p.m. today.
Central (83) — Quincy 2, Warren 8, Miller 22, Gholston 15, Nwosuh 14, Quant 11, Rojas 4, Fort 7.
Ozarks (84) — Simniok 15, Leonard 8, Paschke 5, Daniels 8, Murray 16, Young 4, Nixon 5, Santiago 13, Reid 10.
• OZARKS WOMEN 93, CENTRAL 67 — The Lady Tigers lost by 75 points to the 15th-ranked Bobcats last weekend.
What a difference a week makes.
CCC trailed only 48-41 at the half, but the Bobcats eventually fended off the upset bid to pull away for the victory.
“Even though we came out on the short end tonight, I couldn't be prouder of this team,” CCC coach Chris Honeck said. “The progress they made in the last week was exceptional and we played more like a team than we have in a long time. Our effort was great, our focus was great, and we executed our game plan very well, especially in the first half. Ozarks is an excellent team, and they made more shots than we did. We played them pretty even in most statistical categories. They did outrebound us and they shot better than we did — that was the difference in the game. I'm very proud of this team, and am excited about the second half of the conference season.”
Brooke Rhodes had her best game of the season with 21 points, while Ashlyn Garza scored 12, and Krystina Powell and Ciara Alderson chipped in with 10 apiece.
CCC fell to 0-8 in the MCAC and 8-17 overall. It has a good chance to win today when Central Baptist College comes to town for a 3 p.m. game.
CCC (67) — Powell 10, Regier 2, Rhodes 21, Spence 6, Alderson 10, Garza 12, Osovski 2, Pate 2, Shaw 2.
Ozarks (93) — Scoring not available.