Central shattered a six game losing streak against North Kansas City, avenging a loss from just the day before, with a 53-32 win on Friday at the Coliseum.
Their 48-43 loss to the Hornets on Thursday was, in some ways, emblematic of the skid that the Indians had found themselves on. The Indians led with under a minute remaining, but North Kansas City (9-11) knocked down a heartbreaking shot to clinch the victory after a generally well-played game from Central (13-10).
On Friday, the Hornets didn’t get the chance for late game heroics.
“Tonight, we just said, ‘Hey, let’s prove that last night wasn’t what should have happened. Let’s prove that we’re a solid team,’” Indians coach Jacob Kimble said. “It feels good. We’ve played well, the ball just hasn’t bounced our way recently.”
Senior Dylan Irvin was relieved to get the monkey off of their backs.
“It’s a lot, for real, coming off of a six game losing streak.”
The Hornets came out shooting, with North Kansas City senior Athuai Ding knocking down a pair of threes to immediately put the Indians down six not even a minute into the game.
The Indians weren’t phased, and fired back with three shots of their own from beyond the arc between Irvin and fellow senior Will Small. They entered the second quarter with a 17-13 lead, the closest the game would be throughout the rest of regulation.
In the second quarter, Central senior LaVar Felder knocked down a trio of three-pointers, his first of six threes on the night.
He led both teams with 22 points.
Kimble spoke on Felder’s performance.
“Great kid, been a guy who has been big for our program over the years. It’s really fun to see him play like that,” he said. “He’s a guy who’s capable of that and has had a few games like that all year. He’s one we look to to knock down shots, for sure.”
Central connected on 11 three-pointers as a team. Irvin attributed this to the team’s tempo, saying, “It’s all getting downhill and finding that open guy.”
Felder emphasized the team’s well-roundedness.
“Whenever we get going, anyone on this team can make threes,” Felder said. “As long as we find the open guy and make that extra pass.”
By halftime, the Indians led, 31-19. They increased that deficit by three and six respectively in the two quarters that followed as they played aggressive and physical defense to complement the offensive pace that had opened up so many shots throughout the game.
The Indians will play Oak Park for the third time this season in their final regular season game. The Indians hope that they can use the momentum from this victory to round out the regular season and enter the postseason on a hot streak.
“We feel like we can make a push at the end of the season,” Felder said. “We’re ready for it and ready for the challenge.”
Their final regular season game will be played at Oak Park on Tuesday at 7 p.m.