The Park Hills Central Rebels continued their domination of District play this week. The Class 4 standouts knocked off Affton and Potosi to claim their fourth consecutive District Championship. The Rebels have now won nine District Titles in the last 11 years, and they are headed right back to the State Tournament.
Having earned the top seed with their 23-3 record in the regular season, Central got a first-round bye, and faced Affton in the Semifinals. It didn’t take them long to make a statement against the Cougars. With both the offense and defense clicking in this one early, no one in the Rebels’ cheering section was exactly on pins and needles.
Central jumped out to a massive 23-7 lead in the first quarter, thanks in large part to a trio of three-pointers from Jobe Bryant, Caden Casey and Mason Williams. The onslaught continued in the second with the Rebels putting up 26 more and allowing Affton just 13. That gave them a more than comfortable 49-20 lead at the half.
After the break, Central focused on killing the clock. They picked up points along the way, but defense was the main objective to secure the win. They won the third-quarter battle 14-5 before sending in subs in the fourth to rack up some minutes and close out the game. When the final buzzer sounded, the Rebels had themselves 71-31 victory and a fourth consecutive trip to the District Finals.
Bryant led the team in scoring with 15 points and knocked down a couple of three-pointers. He was chased by Kendall Horton, who had 13, and Williams, who racked up a dozen and led the team with three makes from beyond the arc.
So the stage was set for Central to take on the Potosi Trojans in the Finals, and this one started out a lot closer than the Semifinal game. The Rebels struck first with a 15-11 first quarter with Triston Stewart leading the way with five points. They extended their lead in the second with a big three from Bryant and six points from Zack Boyd that helped produce a 15-10 frame. At the half Central was up by nine (30-21).
Then in the third quarter, the Rebels decided to lean on their star. Bryant erupted for 18 points and pretty much single-handedly buried the Trojans. Central put up 29 in the quarter and held Potosi to just 11, giving them a 59-32 lead going into the final eight minutes of play.
The fourth was interesting though. The Rebels kept pushing with 19 points, but the Trojans found another gear and managed 27. It was a valiant effort, but with the sizable lead that Central owned going into the period, there was virtually no chance of Potosi climbing all the way out of that hole. The Rebs hung on and took the game and the District Title 78-59.
Bryant was a monster in this one with 30 points on nine buckets and three from downtown, and his insane third quarter pretty much put this one in the books. Everyone contributed though, as there was scoring across the board. Stewart had 11, Horton and Boyd had 10, Williams had nine and Casey finished with eight. Everyone who touched the ball was heavily involved, which is a great way to win basketball games.
Winning Districts is always an impressive achievement, but after doing it nine times in the last 11 years the Rebels are certainly looking for more. Each of these young men have won a District Title every year they have played, so they are all hungry for a State Championship.
That road begins on Monday, as they will take on Dexter for a chance to keep the season going at least one more game.
Tipoff is at 6pm. Good luck Rebels!