It was not exactly the finish to the regular season that the Central Park Hills Boys Varsity Basketball Team had wanted, but it was still solid. The Rebels took third at the end of season Conference Tournament to at least finish it off on a positive note going into district play. Highlighting the tournament was Sophomore scoring sensation Jobe Bryant who racked up 79 points in the three games, and hit an impressive milestone along the way. The third-place victory should provide some momentum for the squad as they will now prepare for the final three games remaining.
In the opening round, Central had no trouble handling Fredericktown. The Rebels rolled over the Black Cats in a thirty-point lopsided victory, 76-41. In the game, Bryant, put up 21 points and added six assists. Zach Boyd was next with eight points, while Grant Manion had seven more, equaling his rebounding total.
The win earned Central a trip to the semifinals, where they were matched up against St. Genevieve. In fact, the Rebels had just beaten the Dragons in a regular-season match-up only ten days prior. This time, unfortunately for Central, Ste. Gen was better prepared to handle their high-powered offense.
This was a tight game all evening long, but the Dragons edged out the Rebels 64-61, to advance to the finals, pushing Central into the third-place game. Bryant outdid himself from the previous game here, rallying for an impressive 26 points. However, even with his scoring frenzy, the Rebels didn’t do enough damage to seal the deal.
With the loss, Central would have to face Farmington to salvage the outcome of the tournament. Again, these two teams had recently battled, with Central getting the victory. This time would be no different, as the Rebels routed the Knights by the score of 72-54.
While the third-place plaque would be coming home with the team, the highlight of the evening was once again Bryant, who shone bright with an amazing 32-point performance. The incredible part of his scoring outburst was not the single-game or even tournament total, it was his career total. In this final game, Bryant surpassed the 1000-point mark in his brief two-season run.
The now 16-3 Rebels have three more non-conference games to improve their skills before districts, the final tournament of the season. This coming week is relatively light with only one game scheduled against Arcadia on Tuesday, February 15th. Central will then play Cape Girardeau and Poplar Bluff in the final two games, the following week. Central is hoping that Bryant will continue his hot streak, and that a few other Rebels can step-up to boost their team to a district championship.