BREESE — After seeing their 38-game Cahokia Conference basketball winning streak snapped Friday by Carlyle, the defending Class 2A state champion Central Cougars were looking for immediate revenge.
They found it Tuesday, blasting conference rival Wesclin 62-32 as Kyler Scheer led the way with 23 points and Austin Rickhoff contributed 15 points along with 13 rebounds.
"These guys did not want that streak to end, they were not very happy about it," said Central coach Stan Eagleson, whose team had not lost a conference game since January, 2009.
"We take pride in that and we wanted to keep the streak going," Rickhoff said. "Now we'll start the new one and we've got to keep the tradition going. That's pretty important for our program."
Rickhoff, a starter on the state title team last season, said bouncing back quickly was important. He hit three of his six 3-point tries and more importantly grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds for the Cougars (7-3 overall, 3-1 in league play).
"We knew this was an important game coming in and we wanted to show our home crowd how we can bounce back after losses like that," Rickhoff said.
Scheer, a 6-foot-6 senior who entered the night averaging a team-high 12 points per game, hit 10 of his 14 shots and was fairly unstoppable inside. He had 11 points by halftime and drained all six of his shots in the second half.
Nearly all of them came from within three feet of the basket.
"They were going to play behind him and let us throw it in there, so we just tried to throw it in there and let him score," Eagleson said. "He's gotten better. He's got a nice touch on the ball, it's just a matter of strength.
"If he gets bulldogged he has trouble, but tonight he did a better job of it."
Eagleson got no argument on that point from Wesclin coach Andrew Wilson, whose team fell behind 10-0 early and never got closer than seven points again.
"I did not anticipate (Scheer) being that much of a problem," Wilson said. "We've got guys that guard the post. We just didn't carry it over from practice. You've got to give Scheer credit, he played a really good game and did a good job."
Wesclin (3-5, 1-2) got 12 points from Michael Klein and eight from Kyle Eversgerd.
The first two quarters both followed the same pattern -- Central breaking out to a big lead, only to watch Wesclin put together a run to tighten things up a bit.
A 3-pointer by Rickhoff gave Central its 10-0 lead in the first quarter, but Wesclin fought back to within 14-7 by quarter's end.
Another 3 by Rickhoff and some strong buckets inside by Scheer pushed the Central lead to 25-9 in the second quarter. But the Cougars lost their top two defenders -- guards Jacob Timmermann and Justin Becker -- to three fouls and Wesclin quickly took advantage.
The Warriors put together a 9-0 run and got as close as seven points, but still trailed 27-18 at halftime.
Central ran away from the Warriors with another 10-0 run to start the second half and led 45-23 at the end of the third quarter. Rickhoff dazzled the large crowd with a fadeaway shot from the baseline that went in just ahead of the third-quarter buzzer.
Timmermann had 10 points while Becker also contributed quickness, defense and ballhandling for the Cougars.
"We got off to a great start," Eagleson said. "We went through a little adversity in the second quarter and I thought we showed good resilience in bouncing back from that in the third quarter and the rest of the game."
Wesclin lost starting point guard Alex Smith to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during the Lebanon Thanksgiving Tournament.
On Tuesday the Warriors were also without senior Trent Rieger because of back spasms and Wilson said his squad is struggling to "fill the void."
"We're trying and we're getting there but we're not quite there," Wilson said. "We've got to have some guys step up."
Contact reporter Norm Sanders at email@example.com or 239-2454.