BREESE — The Carlyle Indians on Tuesday accomplished what in recent years has been an impossible task.
Junior Matt Hilmes scored a game-high 21 points and seniors Tyson Boehne and Cody Huels each hit four 3-pointers as Carlyle downed Central 54-42 in a matchup of Cahokia Conference powers.
The Indians' victory ended the Cougars' 37-game home winning streak. Central had not lost a game at home since falling to Freeburg in 2008.
"I knew they had some kind of streak, but we really didn't even talk about that," said Carlyle coach Andy Palmer, whose team has won 11 of 12 and owns two wins over the Cougars.
"We just mainly talked about how big it was as far as the conference goes," he said. "We were in a position (where) we have to win out to win the conference. We can't afford another loss. So I'm really proud of our kids to come in here and get a big conference win."
Carlyle, aided by 14 points from Huels and 13 from Boehne, improved to 17-7 overall and 6-1 in the league's Mississippi Division. Central fell to 15-8 and 6-2.
The 6-foot-3 Hilmes was able to play with impunity in the lane since Central was without 6-6 senior Kyler Scheer (left-arm injury).
Hilmes, a left-hander, was 9-for-12 from the field and scored 14 points in the first half as the Indians built a 34-24 lead.
"Without Scheer, we felt like we had a really nice match there --if we could keep getting him the ball," Palmer said. "We did a good job looking for him and Tyson really shot the ball well early. He was more aggressive to score. That was good to see as well."
All of Boehne's 3-pointers came in the first half, two of which were from about 25 feet.
"He's got some good range and he can shoot it," Palmer said. "He hasn't really been looking to score that much lately. He does a lot of other things for us --rebounds and passes. But we need him to shoot it well. If not, they can just focus on Cody, and Cody hit some big 3s for us, too."
Central led 14-11 after one quarter, but Carlyle took control for good in the second quarter when it outscored the Cougars 23-10.
Boehne hit three 3-pointers in the period and Huels added two, providing the outside complement to Hilmes' six points in the lane.
Central coach Stan Eagleson had no qualms about his team's effort. Execution, however, was the issue.
"It wasn't that we didn't play hard; I thought we played hard," he said. "They shot the ball better than we did. The first half, we had some defensive breakdowns on Boehne. We chased him under the screen once, we had a bad switch once and the last (3-pointer) he hit, we were just too far off him. It was poor defense.
"He's that kind of shooter. When he gets set and comfortable, he can knock them down from that far, obviously. It's nothing we didn't know coming in. We just didn't do a very good job executing defensively."
Carlyle was 19-for-36 from the field (53 percent), including 8-for-14 from beyond the arc (57 percent).
"They're the best shooting team in our conference," Eagleson said. "We had to make some shots just to stay close to them. We just couldn't."
The Cougars were 15-for-40 from the floor (38 percent) and just 4-for-22 on 3-pointers. Junior Jacob Timmermann led Central with 14 points. Senior Austin Rickhoff had 12 points before fouling out with 57 seconds to play.
Central made a fourth-quarter charge that cut a 47-34 deficit to 47-42. But Hilmes scored with 2:09 to play, and after Rickhoff missed a layup, Huels made two free throws and junior Logan Zachry scored on a runout to make it 53-42.
Eagleson said he wouldn't dwell on the end of the long home-court winning streak.
"It's not much fun," he said. "The kids aren't very happy about it. But like I said, even when things were going bad, they battled. ... I thought we had some chances. We just didn't get enough shots to fall."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.