Central Holds Off Sprague In OT

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

SALEM, Ore.–  This was an epic battle between two teams that wanted to advance to the next round of the Capitol City Classic Consolation Bracket as Sprague and Central went into Overtime Monday afternoon.

Both teams traded blows, leads and physicality that saw the Olympians coming close to winning in regulation as they just missed the bottom of the net at the regulation buzzer.  It came on the heels of Sprague rallying back from seven down to force overtime against the Panthers.

“Like I’ve said before, we don’t really have any returners from last year’s team, so we’re a whole new team.  They showed a lot of fight tonight and our guys got to be proud of that.  Central’s a really good team, they’re really big and really physical.  We battled back and I don’t know what it was, eight maybe with two minutes or something like that and we didn’t have any quit in us.  That was great to see and we had a chance to win that one,” Sprague Head Coach Jordan Graneto said.  “It was awesome.”

But for Central, coming off a passionate second half against Cascade on Saturday, they weren’t going to fade away.  They picked themselves off and went back to work as Kai Bennett scored four straight points to push Central ahead early in the overtime period.

The Panthers seemed comfortably ahead up four before Sprague made one last ditch effort for the win.  Getting the tying possession to the hoop before an offensive charge nullified the possible dagger as the Olys had to turn and foul, sending Central to the line. Something that they executed on from a Chase Nelson split and a two-for-two split by Bennett to help ice the victory.

“It was good to get it done.  Just came together at the end in overtime and came out with the win, that’s all that matters,” Nelson said.  “We haven’t played to our best ability, this game we kind of showed out and showed what we were all about.  Little stuff to work on still, but it was good to get the win.  Sprague’s a good team, so was Cascade…we struggled against Cascade, but we came out against Sprague and got it done.”

Nelson had a team-high 21 points as the Panthers play Mid-Willamette Conference foe Silverton at 2:30pm at Corban University.  Matt Weiner had a team-high 16 points for Sprague, who will play Regis Tuesday at 10am at Willamette University.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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