The second game of a doubleheader at Springer Gymnasium saw the Central boys win 53-28 after outscoring Benton 25-4 in the second quarter.
After a low-scoring opening stanza that saw Central down 8-3, the Indians could not miss as they scored 25 second-quarter points.
After missing a few open shots in the first quarter, Central started finding success behind the arc in the second.
“We came out pretty cold,” Central (1-0) head coach Kimble said. “We had some good looks, they just weren’t falling. We talked about how we needed to get down hill more and not fall in love with the three and consequently we hit a bunch of threes. We just got in a little bit of rhythm, had some jitters some first game jitters. We really got going there in the second.”
Senior guard AJ Redman explained how it was all about finding their groove in the season’s opening guard.
“Momentum shift,” Redman said. “We started off a little sluggish in the beginning. We couldn’t find our rhythm, but once we got it, we just kept going and didn’t look back.”
Central continued to rely heavily on the three as 10 of its 19 made baskets came from deep. Part of the reason Central was able to get open looks was their willingness to pass the ball, something Kimble thinks is big moving forward.
“We are really unselfish,” Kimble said. “These guys are willing to make the extra pass, they play for each other. That’s a big part of it, they care about playing for each other and that speaks volumes of who we can be.”
On the other side, Benton (0-1) was unable to get anything going consistently on offense. Belton head coach Gary Belcher credited Central for not allowing his team to get to the paint as easily.
“I thought in the first quarter we got the ball inside the paint,” Belcher said. “In the second quarter, they tighten some things up defensively and we didn’t have enough patience offensively to keep doing what we did in the first quarter. Probably took some ill-advised shots and when those didn’t go in, they’d go down and score. It kind of just kept widening and widening.”
Also of note, Kimble picked up his first win as head coach for Central. Kimble has spent 16 years at Central as a coach and attended high school there, but this win is a little more special after the departure of Cy Musser saw him elevated.
“I’ve been a part of a lot of wins, but in the other chair,” Kimble said. “It’s a cool feeling and I just love that I get to represent my school. It was fun tonight.”
Leading the way offensively was senior guard AJ Redman, who scored 14 points. Junior forward La’Var Felder added 14.
For Benton, sophomore forward Kason Mauzey and senior forward Jaren Kretzer both had six.
Benton will continue its season next week at the Savannah Invitational Tournament, while Central hosts Oak Park on Dec. 6.