Central Basketball Excited For New Season
December 19, 2018
On November 29, the Central basketball team opened their 2018-2019 season with a 59-57 against Bryan. The Eagles are coming off a season where they earned the number one seed in the Nebraska state tournament, but they lost in the quarterfinals for the second straight year. Head coach Eric Behrens said, “we were probably the youngest team at the state tournament.”
Centrals leading scorer and third leading scorer last year were both seniors, so the Eagles only return 54.8% of its scoring from last year. In order to fill that void, Behrens said, “We have three returning starters and are sixth man back, so each of those guys is going to have to step up and carry a little bit more weight on their shoulders.”
The Eagles certainly do still have talent in its starting lineup though. According to the Omaha World Herald, Central has the state’s ninth best high school basketball player in the class of 2019, and two of the top six players in the class of 2020. Those players are senior John Tonje, and juniors Max Polk and Latrell Wrightsell Jr. Last year, Tonje and Polk both averaged double figures for the year, while Wrightsell ended up within a point of the mark.
Behrens believes the defensive end of the floor will be a critical part of how his team does this year. “I think we have to play really good defense and rebound. I think we can score, (we have) a lot of guys that can shoot the ball, so I think we’re going to put points on the board we just have to be able to defend and rebound.” Last year Central averaged 69.8 points per game, and 30 rebounds per game. The Eagles allowed 58 points per game.
The team is certainly looking forward to starting a new season, and trying wear off the pain that back to back losses in the first round state tournament can bring. Behrens said this time of year is “always an exciting time to get going with a new group, and hopes are high around here.”
After the opener against Bryan, the Eagles beat Omaha North 58-39, and then they lost to Omaha Skutt 71-51. Last week, Central played Burke, Millard North, and Bellevue West. They played Omaha South earlier this week, and Central is next in action tomorrow night against Papio South in their final game before the holiday break.