Central effort: Warriors come up just short in loss to Montrose
The Central High School boys basketball team ran out of time Friday night.
The Warriors rallied time and again against Montrose, but couldn’t get over the hump in a 55-54 loss.
“I was happy with the effort,” Central coach Phil Cain said. “We lost by 20 at their place and I thought we stayed within the system and played hard.”
The Warriors (4-17, 2-6 Southwestern League) were determined not to repeat their Jan. 21 64-41 loss to the Indians and showed that in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 53-46 with three minutes remaining, Edward Becoat hit a jumper, then two free throws to pull Central within 53-50.
A layup by Taylor Sanchez cut Montrose’s lead to 53-52.
“I was proud of the last two minutes because instead of the gap spreading, we closed it,” Cain said. “We had some good energy down the stretch.”
Niko Youngren pushed the Indians’ lead back to 55-52 with two free throws.
Central had a chance to tie the game on its final possession but Zach Padilla missed a 3-pointer. Becoat grabbed the offensive rebound, but missed the layup. Robert Chandler snagged Becoat’s miss and hit a basket with five seconds left.
Montrose (15-5, 5-3 SWL) was able to run out the remaining time.
“We were out of timeouts and I told them to look early to take the layup, but we should have kicked it out for a 3,” Cain said. “We’ve improved but we still have a ways to go.”
The teams traded the lead early in the game, with Montrose rallying from an 8-2 deficit to take the lead, only to see the Warriors come back to tie the game 27-27 at halftime.
“It was a heck of a lot closer than it should have been,” Montrose coach Martin Maloney said. “We didn’t play with as much intensity as we needed, especially early on.”
The Indians pushed the lead to 42-36 in the third quarter behind nine points from Brian Davidson, but Central made another run at the end of the quarter to pull within three at 44-41.
“I’ll tell you Phil Cain did a great job improving his kids,” Maloney said. “That was a much better team than what came down to our place.”
Montrose had three players in double figures, led by Nathan Hawley’s 16 points.
Becoat led Central with 15 points and Sanchez added 13.
“That was a good loss,” Becoat said. “We lost by 20 before, and this time, we played a close game and nearly got it.”
Montrose 57, Central 27: The Warriors struggled in the second half of Friday’s loss.
Central (2-18, 0-8 SWL) trailed 17-15 with two minutes remaining in the first half, but a foul, followed by a technical foul on Jordan Eller gave the Indians’ Madison Gill an opportunity to make 3 of 4 free throws.
Montrose (16-5, 7-1 SWL) pushed its lead to 24-15 by halftime, and Central never recovered.
“We are a young team and part of being a young team is making decisions that are in-the-moment decisions,” Central coach Todd Dixon. “We had a chance to take a lead into the locker room but going into it down by nine hurt because we were playing pretty well in the first half.”
Brittany Hoppe led the Warriors with 11 points and Kaylee Walker led Montrose with 13 points.
“We had to come in and play well,” Montrose coach Eric Sanchez said. “We had to withstand Central’s initial emotions and we did that.”