Solid defense helps Central overwhelm Durango
The Central High School boys basketball team has played some pretty games this season — high scoring games, fast-break points and tough defense are the Warriors’ calling card.
Friday night against Durango was not very pretty.
The Warriors (16-3, 5-1 Southwestern League) survived a 47-36 battle, knocking off the Demons for the second time this season.
“Durango does a nice job of running their half-court defense and taking us out of our offense,” Warriors coach Phil Cain said. “We expected this. A lot of their games have been in the 40s.”
In a game where the Warriors only trailed for the first two minutes before taking a 4-2 lead and never looking back, Central relied on its own defense to earn the victory.
The Warriors held the Demons to nine first-half points and only 24 points heading into the fourth quarter.
“It was our defense that got it done for us,” Cain said. “We held them to nine points in the half, which is pretty solid defense.”
The Warriors’ offense seemed to never really get into its rhythm. Central post player Kahler Grandbouche blamed that on a lackluster attitude.
“We lacked effort because we were looking forward to (Saturday),” Grandbouche said.
“We came out sluggish and our defense had to get us through.”
Durango made a run in the fourth quarter, with Loren Doughty scoring on three straight possessions to cut the Warriors’ lead to 38-32 with less than four minutes left. Rather then continuing to attack, Central zapped all the momentum Durango had gained by holding onto the ball and draining the clock.
“We were trying to work on getting to the free-throw line,” Cain said. “We were able to get out there and knock some down.”
With that hold-the-ball offensive strategy, the Warriors closed out the game by outscoring the Demons 9-4 to win comfortably.
“When they made their run in the fourth, we knew we had to step up,” Grandbouche said.
“Everyone played well when we needed to but we should always come out and play our best. We didn’t today.”
The Warriors had a solid effort offensively from Michael Wiedrich, who had 14 points — including three 3-pointers. Blaine Jackson added 11 points for a Warriors team that was without one of their leading scorers — Sean Citlau. Citlau is currently ineligible and might not be available until Feb. 17 against Grand Junction.
Doughty led the Demons with a game-high 16 points including 10 in the fourth.
With the win, the Warriors are looking forward to getting revenge against Montezuma-Cortez. The Panthers are Central’s lone league loss this season.
“It should be an exciting game,” Cain said. “They put it to us pretty good there so I think we will come out with high energy.”