Charmed Central scores another surprise victory

Warriors continue to thrive as underdogs

It would be hard to call the Central boys basketball team lucky after back-to-back wins over quality opponents, but they’re certainly charmed.

As time ran out in the first quarter, Preston Grandbouche had a ESPN highlight moment for the Warriors. From half-court he took a dribble, rose above the logo and lofted a two-handed heave that rattled in as the buzzer sounded.

The Warriors carried the hot shooting to a 60-46 Southwestern League win over Montrose on Friday at Central.

It was the second-straight win for Central (8-10, 3-2) over a team no one thought the Warriors could beat, Central coach Ryan Hayden said.

“I don’t how under the radar we are anymore,” Hayden said. “At this point, I think everyone has seen what we’re capable of. I think we had a tremendous first half tonight, (they) sort of got us out of our continuity in the second, and (we) really benefitted from a big foul count.

“I think people know who we are, and that’s what the Southwestern League is about. We get to see everyone once and then do it all over again. I like the way we’re playing right now.”

Trey Fair had his second straight double-double. The 6-foot-3 junior led Central with 18 points and 11 boards. Twelve of his points came in the first quarter, where he established himself in the post, and Central jumped to a 15-8 lead.

“Execution was big,” Fair said. “I thought we were a little flat tonight, but we executed well. We’re going to go into practice being happy about this, but knowing it isn’t enough. We’re hungry.”

Central benefitted from frequent trips, although not conversions, to the free-throw line. The Warriors entered the bonus early in each half and finished 20 of 34 at the line. Montrose converted four on nine free-throw attempts. Hayden joked that he’s done everything he can to help his team improve at the line, and he might have them stop shooting free throws in practice.

“I think we’ve tried every method under the sun,” Hayden said. “The funny thing is: We’re getting the guys we want, quality shooters, to the line. It’s just a mental thing at this point.”

Physicality will be the next step for the Warriors, if they want to stay above .500 win in league play.

“Everyone in the league is a tough team, especially in the paint,” Hayden said. “I think we’ve done a good job countering that at times, but I don’t think we do a good enough job countering that all the time.

“I think we’re just focused on executing right now. The kids are running our stuff, they believe in what they’re doing, and manufacturing buckets, sometimes, is what we do.”

Grandbouche and Ed Becoat added 10 points each for Central. Grandbouche also notched five assists and four steals. Angelo Youngren led Montrose with 14 points but made one of 11 three-point attempts.


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