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Sports

TIME OUT by Joe Flanagan

Saturday Night’s All Right, All Right, Allll Riiiiiiiight!
That old Elton John tune kept running through my head following the Saturday night victory sweep by Boone Central’s basketball teams over visiting West Point Central Catholic.
All right, indeed. Probably the most impressive night of the season, so far, for both the gals and guys.
The Lady Cardinals exorcized some demons with their 55-40 dismantling of the Bluejays. This has been a long time coming.
Central Catholic has been one of the standard-bearers of the Mid-State Conference in girls basketball, running up winning streaks and state championship numbers while also running up the score against numerous Cardinal squads.
This West Point CC team is certainly not at the school’s previous talent level and its 10-1 record was partially a result of a fairly pedestrian schedule. Still, the Lady Jays could claim a win over a tough Scotus team and a split with defending D1 state champion Bancroft-Rosalie, plus all that winning tradition.
While it was not a huge surprise that Boone Central scored the victory on its home court, the manner in which the Cards ended a long losing streak to Central Catholic was impressive. When BC smelled blood in the water Saturday, they were like a school of sharks in a feeding frenzy.
A good sign for the remainder of the season. The Mid-State Conference is very winnable on the girls side this year. The Cardinals have all the ingredients to emerge at the top of the heap – experience, talent, size, depth and now, it seems, a killer instinct.
The path taken by the Boone Central boys in 2008-09 has been distinctly different.

Although the Cards entered the season with a number of seniors and juniors on the roster, they were extremely short of varsity experience. Add to that, an unfamiliar coaching staff, with longtime assistant Dan Zoucha moving to the head position, joined by new assistants Roger Gentrup and Todd Kramer.
When BC opened 1-4 and absorbed a homecourt shellacking at the hands of conference rival Norfolk Catholic just prior to the holiday break, many wondered where the campaign would go from there.
Less than a month later, the Cardinals have accomplished a phenomenal 180 degree turnaround, winning five of six games, topping the .500 mark and positioning themselves to be a factor in the conference and district over the final third of the season.
Although Saturday’s loss dropped West Point CC below the .500 mark, keep in mind, in their previous two games, the Bluejays had handed C1 Top 10 Battle Creek its only loss and taken Norfolk Catholic to overtime. This was, indeed, a quality win for the Cardinals.
There’s different criteria one can use in assessing good and bad coaching. One tenet of good coaching is when a team shows continued improvement as it plays.
Safe to say, this Boone Central boys basketball season is becoming a testament to excellent coaching.
The Cardinals have gained experience. They’ve learned their respective roles. They’ve found much-needed confidence.
No, this team isn’t a finished product yet. It is, however, a fun-to-watch work-in-progress, capable of reaching even higher heights in the weeks ahead.
One team meeting expectations. Another defying odds. Great work by all the Cardinals.
All Right, All Right, Alllll Riiiiiiight!