In just their second-ever Class 3A postseason game, the Central Cougars defeated the Civic Memorial Eagles 44-43 to win the Class 3A Civic Memorial Regional.
In a game that featured 10 ties and 15 lead changes, Central senior Jack Strieker fought through early foul trouble to knock down the game-winning jumper.
“Knowing I was in foul trouble, I needed to make the most of it when I was out on the court. My teammates did a good job of getting me some open looks, and I just put them down,” Strieker said.
The game was a defensive struggle, and each team hit just two three-pointers.
Trailing 40-39 with just more than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Strieker buried his only three-pointer of the game to give the Cougars the lead. But it was short-lived, as Civic Memorial junior Jaquan Adams converted a traditional 3-point play on the next series.
That set up Strieker’s short jumper with 10.2 seconds remaining to give the Cougars a 44-43 lead. With one last chance, Adams drew a foul while driving the lane with 1.4 seconds left, but he missed both free throws, and the Eagles couldn’t convert the rebound into points before time expired.
“It’s tough to win in any regional on someone’s home court like that. I just can’t say enough about my kids,” Central coach Jeremy Shubert said.
The Eagles season comes to a close at 22-10.
“It was a fantastic game; the fans should have enjoyed this one. It was a fun game to coach. We just didn’t make a couple shots down the stretch. That’s the way basketball is — sometimes you win sometimes you don’t,” Civic Memorial coach Doug Carey said.
Strieker led the way for Central with 13 points. Joe Ratermann and Tyler Joest added 10 points each.
Ratermann also contributed on the boards during a crucial period of the second quarter.
“Before the game, coach told us we had to protect the lane in any way possible because Adams was a good player, and he was going to drive to the basket and get his points,” he said. “He also said if we want to play in 3A, we would have to be physical and get the boards. I tried my hardest and gave everything I could.”
Adams had 22 points for Civic Memorial to lead all scorers.