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home : sports : sports Tuesday, May 24, 2016

3/20/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Central senior A.J. Smith waits to get fouled late in the Sabers’ victory over rival Maquoketa. Photos by Ross Eberhart
Senior Lucas Sheppard attempts a short jumper during Central’s game with Maquoketa.
Sabers battle in loaded WaMaC East, have bright future

By Ross Eberhart
Sports editor

A year removed from being one of the most inexperienced teams in the WaMaC East, the Central boys basketball team made the most of a veteran squad during the recently completed 2012-13 season.

Seasoned players proved to be paramount too as the WaMaC proved once again to be one of the toughest basketball conferences in the state (half of the teams won at least 12 games and two teams - Vinton-Shellsburg and Western Dubuque - went undefeated during the regular season).

Even with a tough slate of opponents, the Sabers started well, opening their season with a pair of routs against Benton and Independence before winning their first WaMaC East game against West Delaware.

A loss to Dyersville Beckman evened Central's division record, but the Sabers bounced back with their biggest win of the season - a 60-51 triumph over then number-two Solon.

A road defeat against Anamosa brought the Sabers back to earth, but Central ended the 2012 portion of its season with a 47-44 win over Maquoketa.

The Sabers opened the new year by winning three of their first five games, but then ran into hard times during a seven-game stretch (Central went 1-6 with a road victory against Northeast) that saw them take on opponents with a combined record of 113-50.

Central, though, finished its regular season with an impressive 59-42 victory over a Marion team that reached a 3A substate game, and then gave third-ranked Davenport Assumption a battle for three quarters before falling in the district semifinals.

The Sabers had nine seniors on its roster this season, including five - Mitch Green, Chris Keitel, Mitch Kirby, Lucas Sheppard and A.J. Smith - who appeared in at least 19 games this season.

Smith was a first-team All-WaMaC East selection this year and led the Sabers in rebounds, assists and blocks.

Kirby was a two-time All-WaMaC East pick, while Green also earned all-conference honors for his play and Sheppard appeared in every game of the last two seasons. Keitel, meanwhile, returned to the Sabers after a year off and gave Central a boost in its backcourt.

The seniors will be tough to replace, but the future is still incredibly bright for the Sabers.

Central returns six players that saw significant time on the court this season.

That includes the team's leading scorer from this season, Kyle Bauer, as well as McClain Steffens and Christian Wright, who played in all 22 games this season. Marty Green and Trevor Green also return for the Sabers and so too does Jesse Brackey.

Just as promising is the impending varsity debut of the current sophomore class, which went 20-1 this season after going 17-1 as freshmen.

With so much talent ready to take the floor, the Sabers will be ready to be the class of the WaMaC East in 2013-14.

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