Centerville cruises past Osky for ninth straight win
ByROGER THOMAS The Ottumwa Courier
After a slow first quarter, the Big Reds from Centerville scored 66 points in the final three quarters and easily outdistanced Oskaloosa 78-42 in the non-conference boys’ basketball action Monday night.
The win was the ninth in a row for the high-scoring Big Reds while the Indians (1-14) have dropped 10 consecutive games.
Centerville opened with a 9-0 run fueled by the play of three of the four seniors that are part of the experienced Big Red starting line-up. Garrett Faris had five points in the opening quarter for Centerville.
The Centerville zone defense covered the floor and made it hard for the Indians to score. Add to that — eight fouls whistled on Oskaloosa — that led to nine free throw attempts for the Big Reds and you have the
factors that led to a 12-5 first quarter lead.
“Those are two of the things that are important to our game,” said Centerville coach Matt Kruzich. “We like to change up defenses and get to the line.”
“Centerville is quick and they work hard,” added Oskaloosa coach Zach Tremmel. “We just didn’t do a good job of feeding the post.”
After the fourth Big Red senior, Jared Armington, scored to open the second, Michael Starcevich got his game going full speed. He would have 12 points in the quarter and lead Centerville with 18.
“When I’m having the kind of game I should be, I usually get off to a quick start by attacking the basket,” said Starcevich.
Centerville was about more than a good half court zone. Their 3/4 court pressure allowed them to come up with seven steals in the
second — many of which they turned into scores.
One of the guys that played up front on the press, Kolton Gonnerman, talked about the press. “We are playing the press a little different than last season. We are looking to use our length to fill passing lanes and contain other teams.”
The Big Reds built a 20-point lead with just under three minutes to play in the half and would lead 33-14 at the break.
”We just shot the ball so poorly early and couldn’t answer what they were doing with their defense,” said Tremmel.
The veteran group from Centerville continued to build on the lead throughout the third. Gonnerman, who runs the offense for Centerville, found Armington three times breaking down the baseline for scores.
“It really makes my job easier” said Gonnerman. “We have lots of guys who can score and I know that if drive — I can kick it to anybody for a score.”
Armington had 10 of his 14 points in the third.
Ryan Reiter and Wade Votroubek each had five points for the Indians in the third.
The fourth quarter was just about finishing out the contest as both coaches emptied their benches to get valuable minutes for lots of players.
Nine diffferent Big Reds scored — six of those were guys off the bench.
Ryder Curtis gave Oskaloosa a spark in the final minutes by scoring eight of his game-high 12 points for the Indians.
“Our seniors give us great leadership and they really fit into the transition game that we like to play,” said Kruzich. “They are great
friends on and off the court and they have played so long together that they just know where each other will be on the court.”
Oskaloosa, which had its game at Grinnell rescheduled for Feb. 17, entertains Dallas Center-Grimes Friday night.