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home : sports : sports Friday, December 15, 2017

1/30/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Central senior A.J. Smith gets fouled as he goes up for a shot in the lane during Saturday night’s Observer-area battle between the Sabers and Northeast. Smith led the Sabers in the game with 13 points, while also grabbing six rebounds, dishing out seven assists and coming up with two steals and two blocks in Central’s 57-42 victory. Photos by Ross Eberhart
Northeast senior Ben Hildebrandt fires a pass over the outstretched arms of Central junior Kyle Bauer during the first half of the Rebels’ game with the Sabers. Hildebrandt led all scorers with 19 points, but he was also the only Northeast player to score in the fourth quarter of Central’s 15-point win.
Sabers shut down Rebels in the fourth for area win

By Ross Eberhart
Sports editor

The stage appeared to be set for a great finish during Saturday's Observer-area battle between the Central and Northeast boys basketball teams.

The Sabers, though, had other plans.

Up by just three entering the final quarter of play, Central turned up its defensive intensity to take away any possible drama, holding the Rebels to just four points during the final eight minutes of play in a 57-42 victory.

"Defense was the key," Central head coach Jeff Frick said of his team which held the Rebels to their lowest scoring output of the season. "I thought our team did a great job, especially in the fourth quarter."

The Sabers seized the momentum right away in the fourth as they scored the quarter's first eight points.

A.J. Smith started off the period with a hoop, while Trevor Green added a pair of free throws.

Mitch Green gave Central two more points with a drive to the basket before Smith finished off the run he began with another hoop inside to make it 49-38.

The Rebels stopped the run and got on the board with a Ben Hildebrandt jumper, but the Sabers came right back with Marty Green scoring on a lay-in.

Hildebrandt responded with a lay-up for the Rebels, but any thoughts of a Northeast comeback were squashed by a combination of Central defense and free throws.

The Rebels did not score again in the game and the Sabers finished off their ninth victory of the season with six-straight free throws (four from T. Green, two from Smith).

The Sabers ended up doing most of their damage during the bookend quarters as they opened up an eight-point lead in the first period (15-7).

The lead grew as high as 14 in the second quarter before the Rebels made things interesting with 10-3 run to end the first half.

Six of Northeast's points during the run came from Hildebrandt, who drained a pair of three-pointers. Bo Lingle added a hoop for the Rebels and so did Matt Lorenzen.

Northeast even had a chance to cut the lead down even further to end the first half as they set up for a final shot.

The Central defense, though, again came up big as the Sabers stole the ball and turned the ensuing fast break into a Ma. Green lay-up just before the half expired.

The lay-in turned what could have been a three- or even two-point halftime lead into a seven-point Saber advantage (28-21).

The margin only grew larger as the third quarter opened as Ma. Green scored again to push the lead to nine.

The Rebels, though, answered back with seven-straight points to pull within two.

The teams traded points (Smith hit a hoop in the paint for the Sabers, while Damon Diedrich answered back with his own hoop inside) before Mitch Kirby put Central back in front by four with a lay-up.

Northeast came back again, this time with an Eli Kaczinski three-pointer to make it a one-point game.

The Rebels, though, never could pull in front as Central had an answer for each of the three times that Northeast got within one in the third quarter.

Kirby answered Kaczinski's three with a pair of free throws and T. Green hit a big three-pointer from the corner after Hildebrandt knocked down two freebies of his own.

Hildebrandt made another three to pull Northeast within a point one final time, but Central held for the final shot in the third quarter and converted their opportunity as Kirby scored from the baseline to make it 41-38 heading to the fourth.

The Sabers were incredibly balanced in the game as five players accounted for 55 of Central's 57 points.

Smith led the way with 13, while also grabbing a team-high six rebounds and leading the team in assists (seven) and blocks (two) and tying for the team-lead with two steals.

T. Green added 12 points and did not miss during the game, making both of his three-point attempts and going 6-for-6 at the free throw line.

Kyle Bauer scored all of his 11 points in the first half with the junior draining three treys and two free throws.

Ma. Green had 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while Kirby just missed double-figures with nine points.

T. Green added five rebounds for the Sabers with Jesse Brackey dishing out four assists. Bauer and T. Green, meanwhile, joined Smith with two steals and Mitch Green blocked a shot for the Sabers.

Hildebrandt led all scorers in the game with 19 points, while Lingle joined him in double-figures with 12.

Nick Wall and Lorenzen both had four points with Kaczinski adding three and Diedrich two.

It was an important game for the Sabers, who were looking to bounce back from a 50-35 loss to Solon on Friday.

Still smarting after Central knocked them off in December, the hosting Spartans jumped out to an 18-5 lead after a quarter of play.

The Sabers, though, got their offense going in the second quarter and outscored the Spartans 15-13 to make it 31-20 Solon at halftime.

Solon, though, put the game away in the third quarter, outscoring the Sabers by seven to push the lead to 18. Central found more success in the fourth quarter, but it was the Spartans who had the 15-point victory.

Bauer led the way for the Sabers (9-8 overall, 5-6 in WaMaC East play) with 10 points in the game, while Brackey added nine (on 4-of-5 shooting). Smith added four points for the Sabers with McClain Steffens and Christian Wright chipping in three.

Ma. Green, Jordan Porth and Drew Dieckmann rounded things out with two points apiece with Dieckmann getting his two points on a dunk.

Bauer and Smith both grabbed four rebounds in the game with the latter adding three assists and the former being one of three Sabers (Brackey and Grant Henning the others) to have a steal during the game.

The Rebels, meanwhile, came into the game fresh off a 69-40 rout of visiting Camanche, Friday night.

Northeast broke open a tight 5-4 game at the midway point of the first quarter by scoring the final 11 points of the stanza.

The Rebels then put things away with a 29-point explosion in the second quarter to push their lead to 45-21 at the break.

Northeast stayed on the attack and added 19 more points to its total in the third quarter and the Rebels doubled up the Indians (64-32) heading to the fourth.

The Rebels used the fourth quarter to get multiple players on the court and Northeast finished off the 29-point victory.

The game nearly turned into a three-point contest between Lorenzen and Hildebrandt as the two seniors combined to drain 10 three-pointers.

The former knocked down six on his way to a team-high 20 points, while the latter hit four of his own and finished the game with 18 points.

Lingle and Wall both had nine points in the game, while Kaczinski added seven. Will Hasken, Tyler Moothart and Brendon Butler rounded things out for the Rebels (14-4 overall, 11-2 in Big East play) with two points each.

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