Shooting woes hurt Warriors
CENTENNIAL — The Central High School boys basketball team could not buy a basket early.
And once senior forward Kahler Grandbouche found himself sitting more than playing because of foul trouble, the Warriors had absolutely no answer for Arapahoe’s Parker Semin.
That combination proved disastrous for the Warriors against their fellow Warriors from Arapahoe.
Central’s breakthrough season ended in frustration Saturday, as they suffered a 77-58 loss at fourth-seeded Arapahoe in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs. The fifth-seeded Warriors had won nine of their previous 10 games and end the season with a record of 20-5.
“We came a long way…it’s been nine years since we’ve been in the playoffs and had a
20-win season,” Grandbouche said. “There is a lot of good things to look at out of it, but it didn’t end how we wanted it to.”
Central never got on track in the contest, missing its first six shots as Arapahoe raced to a 15-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. Grandbouche, who dominated the Central’s first-round win against Northglenn with 26 points, suffered early foul trouble and mostly had to watch as Semin took advantage of the void in the paint.
Semin finished with a game-high 27 points, making 11 of 13 shots, many of them easy looks in the middle. Semin grabbed 10 rebounds and Grandbouche went scoreless until the fourth quarter.
“Kahler, in the past three out of four games, has averaged more than 20 points for us, so that hurt us offensively and defensively,” Central coach Phil Cain said. “And then they did a great job crashing the boards, getting second-chance points. We didn’t play as physical as we needed to.
“Arapahoe did a nice job with their inside-out game and got us back on our heels. We had a few shots early that went in-and-out, and our confidence kind of went with that.”
Central trailed 32-18 at halftime but managed to trim the deficit to 10 early in the third quarter.
At about that same time, however, Grandbouche returned to the bench after picking up his fourth foul. Arapahoe responded with a 12-0 run, a burst capped by a three-point play from Semin, that essentially put the game out of reach.
Central, to its credit, did not quit, hitting four three-pointers in the fourth quarter to keep the hosts from feeling overly comfortable. Grandbouche also scored all nine of his points in the fourth, but Arapahoe (16-8) kept Central at bay by making 17 of 19 free throws in the final quarter.
Clay Kame led Central with 26 points and guard Blaine Jackson added 11.
Cain had nothing but praise for his large senior class and admitted it will be a challenge replacing all five starters.
“Twenty victories hasn’t been done at Central in a while,” Cain said. “We started a couple of these guys as sophomores and just brought them through. We didn’t have our best outing today, but we had a good season and there is nothing to be ashamed of. They brought a lot of enthusiasm to Central basketball. Now we have to rebuild.”
PAT ROONEY/Special to the Sentinel