The Central Cougars boys basketball team started their 2021-2022 season right where they left off last season after winning three pool-play games and the Effingham St. Anthony title game over Teutopolis on Saturday night.
The Cougars won all 15 games last season combined with the first four this season for a state-high 19 game-winning streak.
The Cougars beat Effingham High School, Effingham St. Anthony and Robinson in pool play, going 3-0 before a win over Teutopolis on Saturday night in the title contest.
The Cougars took down the Wooden Shoes of Teutopolis in the title game to claim the title. The Cougars gave up 38.5 points per game at the tournament.
Seniors Luke Strubhart and Brady Moore each earned All-Tournament honors for the Cougars. Moore had 52 points over the four games while Strubhart had 29 points, 28 rebounds and 17 blocked shots.
“Words can’t describe how proud I am to coach this group of young men and the effort and grit they showed as we opened up our season this past week at the Effingham St. Anthony Tournament,” said Central head coach Jeremy Shubert.
The Cougars will open up the home season this Friday when Salem comes to Breese for a 7:45 p.m. start. Central will play at Triad on December 7 and at Roxana on December 10.
Central 32, Teutopolis 29: The Cougars claimed the title with a defensive clinic over the Wooden Shoes on Saturday night in Effingham.
The Cougars allowed just 12 points in the second half to win their fourth game of the season in a game where they managed just 13 field goals for the evening.
The senior trio of Dalton Boruff, Brady Moore, and Luke Strubhart got the Cougars out to an 11-10 first-quarter lead with the trio scoring all 11 of those points with Boruff hitting a short jumper and a 3-pointer.
Boruff and Strubhart each scored four points in the second quarter with the Cougars leading 19-17 at the half.
Moore caught fire in the third quarter with a seven-point frame that sparked an 11-4 run over the eight-minute span for a 30-21 lead.
Teutopolis battled back in the final quarter with strong full-court pressure as they outscored the Cougars 8-2 but never could get the lead in the loss.
Moore scored a game-high 13 points while Boruff scored nine points and Strubhart had eight. Cody Dickshot had a field goal in the third quarter for the only points for the rest of the Cougars who were 4-of-5 from the line.
Central 45, Robinson 40: The Cougars used a strong first half to secure their perfect pool-play effort with their win over the Maroons on Friday afternoon in Effingham.
The Cougars’ defensive pressure was key early on where they forced five turnovers in the first quarter when the Maroons had just one field goal.
“This was a great test for us,” said Central head coach Jeremy Shubert. “This was a physical basketball game that you can’t simulate in practice. We are trying to put in a lot of different things.”
Meanwhile, the Cougars’ offense was not working on all cylinders but managed field goals from Cody Dickshot, Mason Hamon and Brady Moore to jump out to a 7-4 lead after the first eight minutes.
“The offense is working as well as we want it to,” said Shubert. But the football guys have only had six practices, so it’s going to take some time.”
Central followed by scoring the first nine points of the second quarter on buckets from Moore and Chase Lewis, along with going 3-of-4 from the line to expand the lead to 15-4 with three minutes left in the half.
Robinson sophomore Noah Gilmore ended the run with a long 3-pointer before buckets from Dickshot and Luke Strubhart extended the Cougars’ lead to 19-7 with less than two minutes to play in the half.
The Maroons ended the quarter on a 7-2 run with a 3-pointer from Owen Schmidt to end the half trailing the Cougars 21-14. RHS had 10 turnovers and just four field goals in the half. Central was 9-of-22 from the floor with eight turnovers over the initial 16 minutes.
Gilmore scored the first four points of the second half to get the Maroons within 21-18 with a minute elapsed in the third quarter.
However, Strubhart got five points for the Cougars to right the ship before a Lewis jumper moved the Cougars’ lead to 28-22 with three minutes left in the third quarter.
The Maroons scored the next five points before Dalton Boruff came up with the biggest shot of the night, a 3-pointer from the right corner to hand CHS a 31-27 lead as the horn sounded to end the quarter.
Wesley Jackson and Lewis exchanged field goals before Robinson’s Nathan Wernz hit a put-back basket to get the Maroons within 33-31 midway through the fourth quarter.
Lewis stepped up again for the Cougars with a triple from the top of the key to slow the Maroons’ momentum as CHS led 36-31.
Robinson’s Cooper Loll scored the next five points to get the game tied at 36-36 with 2:30 left in regulation.
Dickshot connected on a 14-foot jumper from the lane before Strubhart hit two free throws as the Cougars took control again at 40-36 with 90 seconds left to play.
“We can’t be afraid to try and score the basketball,” added Shubert. Cody came off a screen there and hit a big shot for us. Chase hit that big three also. Those were big, big shots.”
Loll connected on a layup in front of two free throws from Dickshot before Moore added an insurance free throw for a 43-38 lead with 25 seconds left.
Jackson got his second layup of the late moments before Boruff hit one of two from the line to secure the victory.
Lewis led the Cougars with 11 points while Strubhart did it all with 10 points, eight rebounds and seven blocked shots as he was 4-of-9 from the floor and 2-of-4 from the line. Moore added nine points.
The Cougars were 16-of-35 from the floor including 2-of-8 from the arc to go with 11-of-20 from the line with 11 turnovers.
“We’ve been coming here for a long time, and these teams are always physical and ready to play,” concluded Shubert. “This is a great way to start the season playing these types of teams. I think our defense showed that they can dictate the tempo of the game.”
The Maroons got 13 points from Gilmore, nine from Loll and seven from Rylan King. They were 14-of-39 from the floor with a 2-for-10 effort from the arc. RHS was 10-of-20 from the line and they ended the game with 10 turnovers, all coming in the first half.
Central 53, St. Anthony 50: The Cougars got another big test on Wednesday in Effingham.
The Cougars got a balanced scoring effort to offset a great individual effort from the Bulldogs’ Craig Croy to secure the victory.
Croy led all scorers with 24 points that included eight in the first quarter and 10 more in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, the Cougars had four players with at least nine points that included 19 from senior Brady Moore.
The Bulldogs took over in fine fashion in the first quarter with a 17-7 lead behind the eight points from Croy.
Central chipped away from there, outscoring the Dogs 11-8 in the second quarter behind four points from Moore and Mason Shubert as they trailed 25-18 at the half.
Both teams had the offense going in the third quarter with CHS outscoring St. A. 19-17 with eight points from Moore as they chiseled their deficit to 42-37 entering the final quarter.
St. Anthony managed just three field goals in the final quarter while the Cougars got points from six players in a frame they outscored the home squad 17-8 to steal the win. The Cougars were 8-of-15 from the line in the final quarter.
Along with Moore’s 19 points, Cody Dickshot, Shubert and Dalton Boruff each put in nine for CHS. They were 15-of-26 from the line.
Central 37, Effingham 35: The Cougars scored just enough offense to win their season-opener over the Flaming Hearts on Tuesday in Effingham.
Central trailed throughout much of the first half with just one field goal in the first quarter with Luke Strubhart having a bucket and Cody Dickshot with two charity shots as they trailed 6-4 after eight minutes.
Both teams picked up the offensive pace in the second quarter with the Hearts outscoring the Cougars 13-12. Central got two buckets from both Mason Hamon and Mason Shubert as they trailed 19-16 at the half.
The Cougars’ defense locked things down in the third quarter where they battled back to tie the game, allowing the Hearts just two field goals.
Meanwhile, Moore hit for four points and Hamon and Dickshot had buckets with the game entering the fourth quarter tied at 24-24.
The fourth quarter went back and fourth with nine players scoring in the frame including five Cougar shooters.
Strubhart had two buckets with Moore hitting for three points as CHS outscored the Hearts 13-11 in the frame to sneak out the win.
Moore paced the Cougars with nine points while Hamon and Dickshot each scored eight points for CHS who was 5-of-6 from the line.