In an effort to build momentum for looming postseason competition, the Boone Central Cardinals had won 5-of-7 games since January 16, their best stretch since the first two weeks of the 2020-21 basketball season.
That momentum hit a couple of speed bumps this past week, however, as the Cardinals dropped a home court overtime heartbreaker to Centura Feb. 9, then fell to Class B Top 10 Northwest on the road Thursday.
Boone Central was held to a total of just 79 points in the two games – 32 in Thursday’s loss at Grand Island. That offensive lapse came just after the Cards had scored between 64 and 75 points in 6-of-7 games.
“For us to fare well the rest of the season we need to play more consistent basketball on both ends of the floor,” said Cardinal Coach Justin Harris. “We have just left too many points out there on easy opportunities.”
Points were no problem early against visiting Centura (12-7) Tuesday, Feb. 9. Buoyed by pressure defense and a fast-paced attack, Boone Central burst from the gate with a 23-15 lead.
From there, however, the Cardinals could muster only another 24 points. A five-point second quarter allowed Centura to pull within 28-27, and the teams battled evenly through a low-scoring second half. After Centura tied the score late, Cardinals had a final shot that wouldn’t fall. The Centurions then outscored BC 7-3 in the overtime period.
“It was a disappointing outcome, especially with how we started the game,” Harris rued. “We just didn’t get the stop we needed to. We executed our last play of regulation to get a great look at the hoop, but it didn’t fall this time.”
Defense ruled in Thursday’s contest at Northwest. In a donnybrook where points were hard to come by, the host Vikings eked out a 39-32 victory over Boone Central.
The Cardinals held an opponent below 40 points for the first time this season, but simply could not dent the Northwest defense often enough. Northwest (12-6) broke a 20-20 halftime tie with a 12-6 run in the third quarter, then held off the Cardinals in the final eight minutes.
“This was one of our best defensive games all year,” Harris noted. “They have two guards who attack really well and another wing who can shoot really well. We held them to only 12 points in the paint and forced them to shoot from outside.
“Our offense struggled to finish inside the 3-point line. With a minute-and-a-half left we were still down only three, but shooting 10-of-40, along with too many turnovers, makes it really difficult to win games.”
Further details in Print & Online Editions of Albion News and Boone County Tribune