Central Christian College’s basketball teams followed up one of their lowest points of the season with one of their most exhilarating highs.
The Central teams, who were swept at home over the weekend, completed their three-game homestand on Tuesday with rousing victories over York College in important MCAC games.
The Central women played perhaps their best game of the year with an 80-70 triumph to move to 3-7 in the MCAC, 9-17 overall. It was their first conference win at home in four years and avenged an earlier-season shellacking.
“Tonight was a complete reversal of our game at York three weeks ago when they beat us by 28,” CCC coach Chris Honeck said. "One of our focal points for tonight's game was controlling the tempo, and with a few exceptions, we did a very good job of that. We executed our offense very well most of the night and shot the ball very well, especially in the second half. Our 3s were falling all night and that forced York to come out of their zone a lot more than they usually do.”
It was more than just shooting though.
“We won almost every statistical category,” Honeck said. “We did commit more turnovers than they did, but we overcame that by shooting well and taking advantage of the opportunities we had. We also played as a team more than we had been recently. Anytime we can get 21 assists for 24 made baskets, it shows that not only are we finding the opening person, but we're finishing shots. All in all, a great win. Nice to have a little momentum heading into the weekend's games against Oklahoma Wesleyan and Haskell, two of the top teams in our conference."
Central led only 30-29 at the half (as Ashlyn Garza hit a 3 at the buzzer for the lead), but exploded for 50 second-half points, keyed by some solid 3-point shooting. For the game, the Lady Tigers drained 13 3-balls.
Kelly Smit came off the bench for 16 points, while Quamisha Spence had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Libby Regier added 12 points.
Cory Minjarez scored 22 points to lead the Panthers.
Central plays Friday at MCAC leader Oklahoma Wesleyan, then goes to Lawrence on Saturday to play Haskell.
Central (80) — Woods 9, Regier 12, Garza 9, Spence 15, Smit 16, Campa 8, Shaw 9, O’Brine 2.
York (70) — Eller 15, Swope 8, Minjarez 22, Echols 6, Esquivel 12, Sharkey 5, Miller 2.
• CENTRAL MEN 90, YORK 64 — The Tigers are a different team with Michael Gholston.
The 6-5 sophomore returned from suspension to pour in a game-high 21 points as the Tigers improved to 4-6 in the MCAC, 14-10 overall.
Jerome Jackson had his best game of the year with 19 points off the bench, including 5 of 8 from beyond the arc. Ernest Burton also was money off the bench with 16 points, while Alonzo Stafford had 11.
Central played arguably its best half of the year as it raced to a 55-38 lead and instead of letting down, it didn’t let up in the second half.
“It feels good to see the ball go in the hole,” said CCC coach Tony Romero, who amazingly had his entire team together for the first time as injuries have been a constant. “We have been eagerly waiting to get our whole team back on the floor together. Tonight I thought was won from the bench, we had a number of guys step up and play big. We had a couple of starters that didn't play their best games but others came in and filled those minutes with big production.”
The Tigers have a chance to build some momentum heading into the final week. They play Friday at last-place Oklahoma Wesleyan, then go to Haskell on Saturday, which is tied with Central in the MCAC, along with two other teams.
Central (90) — Stafford 11, Quincy 5, Gholston 21, Rojas 5, Jackson 19, Burton 16, Adams 9, Robbins 4.
York (64) — Evans 16, Bates 2, Marshall 5, Thomas 4, Coleman 9, Howe 5, Michael 5, Johnson 1, Willis 5, Karbhari 1, Tolliver 4, Love 4, Agholor 3.