While the evening ended rather sour for Central, homestanding East was able to gain a measure of satisfaction with its 70-58 victory at the Dyer Dome.
Still, the win was more of a relief than a celebration for the Patriots (15-11, 3-5).
“We’re going to enjoy winning the basketball game because we’ve had a tough stretch,” said 31-year East coach John Dyer. “We haven’t shot the ball well in a while. ... Hey, Central played hard as heck and, hey, our league from top to bottom is really good. It’s hard to get wins in this league. ...
“So we’re fortunate to get a win and we’re happy to get a win and we’re going to build on this. And hopefully we’re going to start playing a little smarter.”
Both teams opened slow before the Patriots started finding their footing late in the first quarter, attacking the hoop out of their dribble-drive offense.
Adam Davison, who scored 15 points to finish with team-high honors along with freshman Dylan Bartley, hit a pair of 3s to propel East on a 15-2 run that left the Patriots leading 23-9 at the 4:27 mark of the second quarter.
Central (9-15, 4-5) roared back as it did much of the night, scoring seven straight — all on free throws — before the game turned ugly.
After his club’s 7-0 run that cut its deficit to 23-16, Cougars coach Derek McGhee was whistled for a pair of technical fouls for protesting a foul call on one of his players defending the baseline.
Actually, McGhee was tagged with four T’s by an overzealous official, but by rule could only be assessed two infractions before exiting the gymnasium — which left assistant Brian Barbour in charge.
“It’s unfortunate all that happened,” Barbour said. “Nonetheless, we’re very proud of how the kids fought all night long.
“It was a disadvantage that I had to coach seated on the bench (by rule under the circumstances), but we’ve got a lot of seniors and they made my job easier. They fought extremely hard and stayed with our game plan all night.”
East, which received 13 points from Mason Johnson and 11 from Dayne Davis, was up 29-18 at halftime and led by double digits throughout the second half, once by a 41-20 margin early in the third period. But Central never folded.
The Patriots, who made nine 3-point shots, simply had too much firepower.
Caleb Rose led Central with 19 points. Kaden Duncan scored 12 and Ben Williams added 11.
CENTRAL GIRLS STILL PERFECT
The Lady Cougars remained perfect within the Three Rivers Conference with their 56-46 win over the stubborn Lady Patriots.
With Avery Leming scoring 15 of her team-high 23 points, Central (16-9, 9-0) ran out to a 30-13 advantage at intermission. East (12-14, 3-5) fought back admirably before finally succumbing.
The Lady Patriots, with Hayley Grubb and Riley Nelson catching fire and combining for 39 points, got as close as 51-45 with 1:08 to play.
Peyton Sams scored 12 and Abbey Crawford tossed in 11 to back Leming.
Grubb led East with 23 points and Nelson kicked in 16.