CENTRALIA — The Althoff Crusaders could have used more than one day to prepare to play the Centralia Orphans.
Seniors Jake Wood and Jerod Simmons-Young combined for 32 points on Senior Night as the Orphans beat the Althoff Crusaders 51-38 on Friday in a South Seven Conference game.
The Crusaders, coming off 53-51 win over Belleville East on Wednesday, never got in sync offensively against the Orphans.
"Centralia is a good ballclub, and our prep work wasn't good enough and that doesn't fall on the kids at all," Althoff coach Greg Leib said. "It falls on me. Coming off the (Belleville) East game on a one-day turnaround, I didn't do a good enough job of getting them right where we needed to be tonight."
The Crusaders (18-8, 3-6) were led by freshman Jordan Goodwin with 16 points. Kevin Renner and Keenen Young each added nine points.
The Crusaders struggled with their outside shooting. They were 3-for-16 on 3-pointers.
"You have to shoot it well against Centralia," Leib said. "They take away the lane so well. Even though Jordan got to the rim the best he could, they really do a good job of taking away the lane."
Centralia coach Lee Bennett, whose team lost to the Crusaders 69-58 on Jan. 10 at Althoff, felt like the Orphans played strong defense all game.
"I thought throughout the night we guarded pretty well, and we were able to get enough rebounds," said Bennett, whose team improved to 22-4 and 6-3 in the South Seven. "We actually guarded by the basket pretty good for obviously giving up some size."
The 6-foot-2 Wood had 17 points, while the 6-foot-1 Simmons-Young had 15.
Chase Alcorn, another senior, chipped in six points.
Bennett said he hoped his five seniors would finish out their high school careers on a strong note.
"Those guys have certainly accumulated a lot of victories and they've had a little bit of postseason success and they've won the Centralia Holiday Tournament," Bennett said. "Hopefully, the very best basketball that they have to offer as Orphans is in front of them, and I know they want it to be that way."
The Crusaders had trouble containing Wood, who is capable of hitting the 3-pointer or scoring inside off post moves.
"Golly, if he was 6-foot-5, (coaches) in the (Missouri) Valley (Conference) would be down here slobbering on him," Leib said. "He does a great job, and he has been doing it for a while, since he was a freshman. He's a tough matchup for us."
Wood and Simmons-Young each hit a pair of 3s as the Orphans grabbed a 20-8 lead.
The Crusaders were able to close the gap to 24-20 on a 3-pointer by Young in the final minute of the first half.
The Orphans went up by seven points on another 3 from Wood and then stretched their lead to 11 on back-to-back layups from De'Ontre Cunningham and Ryan Obermeier.
The Crusaders drew within nine points on a layup by Goodwin at the start of the fourth quarter, but a 3-pointer by Simmons-Young capped a 7-0 surge that gave the Orphans a 45-30 cushion with 4:19 left in the game.
Back-to-back layups by Cunningham and Simmons-Young increased the Orphans' advantage to 49-32 with 2:02 remaining.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.