It’s playoff basketball time, and that means the games are all win or go home from here on out. In Class 4 District 2, the Park Hills Central Rebels will enter tournament play on Wednesday as the top overall seed, and will take on the fifth-seeded Affton Cougars in the second round of the tourney.
The Rebels earned a first-round bye after having one of the most incredible regular seasons in recent memory. They went 23-3, had winning streaks of 12 and 10 games and dominated their competition. They won every game by double digits, and most of them by at least a 20-30 point margin. This team is a force, and Affton should be quaking in their sneakers.
Speaking of those Cougars, they struggled this season to the tune of an 11-16 record. They came into District play having lost three straight and owned just two wins in the month of February. But everyone makes the District Tournament, and they made the most of their first opportunity. They upset Herculaneum in the first round 67-61 to advance to the Semifinals.
Unfortunately for them, their reward was to face a loaded Rebels team.
If they’re going to have a chance against Central, they’re going to have to lean heavily on their stud, Sean LaRose. He leads the team with 22.7 PPG and is an excellent shooter in all facets of the game. He’s 87% from the line, 63% from the field and 42% from downtown. The Rebels will need to contain him.
Keith Watson will be a factor as well. With nearly 200 rebounds and almost 10 points a game on average he will look to make trouble for Central at both ends of the court. Jack Laue could be a hindrance as well as a distributor with his 89 assists and outside shooting ability (31 threes).
The Rebels shouldn’t worry too much though, as they have a roster as loaded as a trivia night gift basket. It starts with Jobe Bryant, who is an other-worldly talent. He leads the team with 577 points (22.2 PPG) and has 34 three-pointers, 114 rebounds, 151 assists and 85 steals. In a sense, he does it all.
He’s not alone though. Mason Williams has been heating up as of late and is a huge threat from beyond the arc, averaging over 10 points per game. Caden Casey has also been a staple all year with 11 PPG, 112 boards and 63 dimes. And if the big three aren’t getting it done, you better believe Zack Boyd (7 PPG, 108 RB), Triston Stewart (191 RB) and Kendall Horton (7.8 PPG, 119 RB) will step up.
This is a deep and loaded roster, and the Rebels are looking to cruise through Districts. Assuming the Rebels take down Affton, they’ll meet the winner of the (2)Ste. Gen vs (3) Potosi game tomorrow night which are two teams they’ve already beaten this season. The Rebels met Potosi in the finals last year and have played once in the regular season this year, beating the Trojans by 11. If Trojans fall to Ste. Gen, the Rebels road to a district championship looks a little bit easier, with the Rebels having two 20+ point wins over the Dragons already…. but it’s hard to beat a team three times in one year.
Central looks as good as they ever have since becoming a force in the district over the last several seasons and will be looking to make some noise in the State Tournament. If they are on their game, there is no reason to think they can’t accomplish that feat.
Tip off is Wednesday at 5 pm at Ste. Gen High School.
Good luck Rebels!