Basketball team has high hopes for District Tournament

Approaching the District Tournament, Central Boys Basketball holds onto a 18-6 record. The Eagles, after starting 4-0, dropped their first game to the Papillion-LaVista South Titans, a bout that has almost gained rivalry status over the last two years.  

“We know we can do better, and I think it’s always a work in progress, you play the game, you analyze what you did right and what you did wrong, and you go back and try to fix the things you did wrong and hopefully you do them right the next time,” Coach Eric Behrens said.  

The Eagles went on to face the Titans once more, this time triumphing over them. The Eagle’s next loss was against the Bellevue West Thunderbirds, the third ranked team in the state.  

“Bellevue West, we play the last Friday of the season. There are just some things we saw on film that we know we can improve upon,” Behrens said.  

The next two losses from the Eagles came from Millard North and Gretna, both games being within six points at the final buzzer. The Eagles face off against five more teams this season, including the Westside Warriors, the first ranked team in the state.  

Throughout the season, there have been many stand-out players for the Eagles, including senior combo guard Jayden Dawson. Dawson, committed to Loyola-Chicago, averages 17.1 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, 3.3 assists per game and 2.2 steals per game.  

“We knew coming in he’d be our scorer, but I think his playmaking has really taken off. We’re putting the ball in his hands more as our point guard, and you look at the point production for this weekend, a big factor is his ability to distribute,” Behrens says. 

PJ Davis, senior guard, has stepped into a larger role this season compared to last year. Davis, who averages 17.2 points per game, along with 3.6 rebounds per game and 1.2 assists per game, recently committed to Central Community College.  

“We knew PJ could shoot and score, he probably didn’t shoot quite the percentages in the first 4, 5 games that we hoped but I think he’s kinda found his shooting touch a little, but he’s also attacking the basket, getting to the rim and making his free throws,” Behrens explains. “His scoring has obviously been a big boost for us.”  

Keah Paljor (KP), 6’7” senior, has been a large part of the Eagles’ ability to score this year.  

“KP is really skilled, he does shoot the ball well, that’s no surprise, we hope that he can continue to find the ability to knock down perimeter shots, obviously at his height getting around the basket and contributing in the paint as well.” 

Behrens highlights the Eagles’ improvement from the first half of the season. 

“We came in with Jayden Dawson and PJ Davis as experienced players, not much beyond that and I think we’ve got some varsity games under some guys belts and we’ve got some experience, you start to see guys getting more comfortable out there and I think it shows in improved play,” Behrens explains. “I definitely think we’ve gotten better from game one to where we are today and I hope that trend continues.”