FILE PHOTO: Basketball

ST. PAUL — The St. Paul boys basketball team won round one of the Lou-Platte Conference tournament at home beating Central City 61-40 Tuesday night.

After dominating in the first quarter 18-5 by sinking shots and playing pesky defense, the Wildcats really cooled off in the second being outscored by Central City 15-8.

St. Paul coach Derek Reinsch said they just weren’t playing fundamental basketball.

“One of the biggest things was our slot selection in the second quarter,” he said. “We started forcing it and taking quicker shots.”

Reinsch said their defense just collapsed as well.

“We didn’t rebound,” he said. “We quit sending guys to the boards. Got out of our full court pressure.”

Central City (7-11) on the other hand played their best quarter in the second frame.”

“They missed some shots. We got into a groove offensively so that was better,” Bison coach BJ Blasé said.

Central City trailed 26-20 at the half. The second half it seems the tables turned as St. Paul (14-4) came out fired up and scored 22 points in the third quarter. Central City had just eight.

“At halftime we talked about us getting back to what we do, and what makes us St. Paul basketball,” Reinsch said. “We pressure. We pick you up full court, and we attack the glass hard.”

The Wildcats are known for setting a fast pace against opponents, and Blasé said it was just a little too fast for them.

“They do a good job of getting you playing like that because that’s their game,” he said. “You know we like to play like that too, but they do it maybe just a little bit better.”

St. Paul was led by Tommy Wroblewski with nine points in the first quarter and was shutout in the second. He got into a zone the second half and poured in an addition 15 points to finish with 24.

“He did a great job. He didn’t force it,” said Reinsch. “He just went wild.”

The Bison had a hard time sinking baskets in the second half.

Junior Jackson McGinnis led Central City scoring 14 points in the loss.

McGinnis was 7-for-9 from the free-throw line.

By the end of the third quarter, St. Paul had a 20-point lead 48-28.

Reinsch said they knew coming in they would have to try and control Central City’s long game, and they did. The Bison made only three from the arc.

“We watched them hit 11 three-pointers against Centennial. If you let them get their feet set, you let them set their pace, you let them get comfortable, they are good shooters. They can really stroke it (from outside).”

These two teams will more than likely face off again very soon in subdistricts.

“We are going to try to be ready and beat them in districts when it really, really counts,” said Blasé.

St. Paul will play a conference semifinal Friday in Ord.

Central City 5 15 9 11—40

St. Paul 18 8 22 13–61

CENTRAL CITY — McGinnis 14, Blodgett 11, Ohlman 5, Jensen 3, Kearney 2, Buckau 2, Twiss 2.

ST. PAUL — Wroblewski 24, Larson 8, Poss 7, Vogel 7, Seward 4, Wells 3, Pedersen 3, Knapp 3, Gravatt 2.

GIRLS

St. Paul 46, Centura 29

The St. Paul girls faced off with Centura for round one of the Lou-Platte Tournament and won at home 46-29.

The St. Paul defense really didn’t give the Centurions (6-14) a fair fight as they kept changing their look, and the way they set up.

“They fought hard. They adapted to some different defenses tonight, which is something we have been working on from the start of the season,” said coach Laethion Brown.

“We played some games early where teams would switch up and we would be shell shocked. Tonight, we knew St. Paul could throw different stuff at us and they did, and we reacted to it well, we just didn’t put points up on the board.”

St. Paul’s offense is usually led by the Poppert sisters, Brooke and Olivia, but Tuesday night they were in the cross hairs as Centura defended them well in the first half allowing them only eight points each in the first half.

St. Paul coach Rick Peters said when the Poppert girls are covered, their teammates step in and fill the void nicely.

“That’s what got us to where we are at right now. I think most teams concentrate on both Popperts, but those other girls have really been stepping it up.”

Anna Thede was one of those players picking up the slack as she knocked in eight points for the Wildcats (16-2).

Brooke Poppert poured in 10 and Olivia six.

Centura was led in scoring by Sydney Davis, a freshman who came off the bench and poured in nine points.

“She’s come on the last few games. She’s got some real length on her which she uses on defense for blocks. We told her attack on (on offense),” Brown said.

Davis went 3-5 from the line in the game.

Brown credited the Wildcats defense for playing well and containing his girls on offense.

“It was hard to get a shot off. The was minimal space, hardly any space to breathe,” he said. “It was all clean. (Our) girls got the shots off when they could. Other times, they had to give it up.”

St. Paul will play a conference semifinal game Thursday in Ord.

Centura 29

St. Paul 46

CENTURA — Davis 9, Fanta, Holcomb 6, Semm 5, Christensen 3

ST. PAUL — B. Poppert 18, O. Poppert 14, Thede 8, P. Lukasiewicz 6, Jo. Jakubowski 3.

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