The Park Hills Central Rebels capped off the regular season with a pair of intense, offensive showdowns at home this week. They fell 80-71 to an extremely talented Cape Central team on Tuesday, which snapped a 10-game winning streak, but then rebounded on Thursday with a crazy 96-81 win over Poplar Bluff.
The loss was just their third of the season, and the Rebels now sit at 23-3 and have earned not only the top seed in the Class 4 District 2 Tournament, but a first-round bye as well.
The game against Cape on Tuesday was a back and forth affair all night. The Tigers took a 19-17 lead in the first quarter despite eight points from Jobe Bryant and a pair of threes from Mason Williams. Both Rebels would stay hot though and take the lead with their second quarter performances. They were responsible for all 18 points in the frame, with Williams locking down 13 of them, giving Park Hills a 35-34 lead at the break.
The Rebels were fired up after halftime and came out blazing in the third. They leaned on Bryant, who had an incredible 15 points in the quarter and was able to extend the lead. At the end of the third, a 22-18 advantage in the period gave Central a 57-52 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play.
The Tigers would flip the script though, as they came out on fire in the fourth. They put up 28 points and held the Rebels to just 14, running away with the game in the final minutes. They managed to contain Bryant and Williams in the last quarter, and it was the difference in the game. Central took the rare loss with an 80-71 final tally.
Bryant and Williams were more or less the entire offense in this one. Bryant led all scorers with 33 points on nine buckets and three makes from downtown, while Williams hit five from beyond the arc and totaled 26 points.
That was a tough loss for Central, but all season they have followed each loss with a massive win streak, which bodes well for their chances in the playoffs. They would start the next potential streak against the Mules on Thursday, and this game had offense written all over it.
A 28-19 first quarter in favor of the Rebels would get things going thanks to 14 points from Bryant and seven from Williams. The offensive flurry for both teams continued in the second with 26 more from the Rebels and 20 from the Mules. The dynamic duo of Bryant and Williams continued to impress with eight more points apiece, en route to a 54-39 halftime lead.
After the break, Central continued to turn up the heat, and this time they did it with contributions across the board. Caden Casey and Kendall Horton both had big threes to go along with seven more points from Bryant, and the Rebels took the quarter 28-21 for an 82-60 lead going into the final quarter.
With the luxury of a big lead in the fourth, the Rebels could afford to chew up the clock, and despite being outscored 21-14, they were still able to easily hang on for the 96-81 victory and close out the regular season in style.
Bryant was the offensive catalyst once again with his 35 points to lead all scorers. He made 10 buckets from the floor, hit a three and went an eye-popping 12-of-15 from the line. Williams had a big night as well with three more three-pointers and rattled off 22 points. Casey had 11 and Triston Stewart had 10 to round out the top scorers.
The win was the 23rd of the season for Central and they now get to hone their skills in practice before kicking off the second round of the District Playoffs next week. They will face the winner of Herculaneum and Notre Dame (St. Louis) on March 2nd at 5 pm.
Good luck Rebels!