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home : sports : sports Friday, April 29, 2016

12/1/2012 Email this articlePrint this article 
Central junior Kyle Bauer attempts a three-pointer during the first half of the Sabers’ game with Benton, Tuesday night. Bauer led the Sabers with 18 points, while senior A.J. Smith (right) added 11 points and eight rebounds as Central routed the Bobcats 61-43. Photos by Ross Eberhart
Sabers start fast, blow by Benton in season opener

By Ross Eberhart
Sports editor

If there was any doubt that it was a new season, the Central boys basketball team erased it with a dominating first quarter during Tuesday night's season opener with Benton.

The Sabers scored 14 of the game's first 16 points and held the Bobcats to just six point overall in the first quarter en route to an impressive 61-43 victory.

The 61 points already surpassed Central's best total from last season, while the 43 points allowed was only bettered once by last year's squad.

The Sabers pushed the pace right away in the game and the results were impressive. Central led 5-2 early and then proceeded to roll off a 13-1 run.

A.J. Smith kick started the surge with a three-point play and Jesse Brackey received an outlet pass after a Benton turnover and turned it into a lay-up.

Smith followed with a jumper and Kyle Bauer started a big night with two free throws.

Benton knocked down a free throw of their own to stop a stretch of nine-straight Saber points, but Central kept at it with Bauer driving inside for consecutive lay-ups to make it 18-3.

Only a Benton three-pointer at the first quarter buzzer prevented the Sabers from going into the second period with that same advantage.

Central, though, went back to work and a put-back by Bauer coupled with a driving lay-up by McClain Steffens pushed the lead to 22-6.

The Bobcats, though, had an answer, draining consecutive three-pointers as part of a 10-0 run that cut the lead down to six.

Central did not panic, but instead turned back to Smith and Bauer who came through with a small jumper and a three-pointer, respectively, to push the lead back to double-digits.

The two teams traded hoops the rest of the quarter (Mitch Kirby scored on a shot inside and Christian Wright drained a three-pointer for the Sabers) and Central held a 10-point edge (32-22) heading into the break.

Just like they did at the start of the first half, the Saber defense thrived immediately after halftime. Central held Benton to just seven points during the period to overcome its own struggles on offense (the Sabers had 10 points in the quarter) to increase the lead to 42-29 entering the fourth.

The Central offense took it from there as the Sabers opened the final period of play with nine-straight points.

Lucas Sheppard opened the scoring with a hoop and Mitch Green added a three-pointer from the corner. Bauer got to the free throw line again and made both shots before Sheppard ended the run he began with a put-back of a Saber miss.

Now up 22, the Sabers had an opportunity to finish off the game at the free throw line and, in fact, Central's next seven points came from the charity stripe.

Bauer provided three of the free throws with Steffens and Kirby adding two each.

Central's final four points came on baskets inside by Marty Green and the Sabers finished off their first victory of the season.

Bauer led the way for the Sabers with 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting, while Smith joined him in double-figures with 11.

Steffens added seven points for the Sabers with Brackey and Kirby both scoring six.

Smith and Kirby both grabbed eight rebounds (three of the latter's came on the offensive end) with Sheppard adding five boards and Bauer three.

Smith dished out four assists as well with five other Sabers - Steffens, Brackey, Bauer, Mi. Green and Billy Dolan - handing out two apiece.

Kirby had two steals for the Saber defense which limited the Bobcats to just 17-of-51 shooting (33 percent), while Green had a block.

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