Mitchel Rule had one shot Friday night at the Class 2A Wesclin Regional, but he made it count.
Rule drained a 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to open up a tight game and Logan Kohrmann poured in 27 points as Central won its seventh regional title in eight seasons with a 56-41 victory over Carlyle.
Carlyle (15-17) trailed 23-21 at halftime and was still down by only five near the end of the third quarter when Rule dropped in an emotional dagger.
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“We were down five, we gave up an offensive rebound off a free throw and then they hit a three to go up eight,” said Carlyle coach Andy Palmer, whose team lost to Cahokia Conference rival Central for the third time this season. “That’s a huge swing. We secure that rebound and maybe we come down and score a two or three, maybe it’s a two- or three-point game.
In the first half we were kind of timid and letting them pay their game. We needed to speed it up in the second half and that’s what we did. It’s definitely a bounce-back year for us and it feels good.
Central senior Logan Kohrmann
“I thought that was the biggest play of the game for them. You’ve got to give them credit, that’s a just a hustle play that we didn’t make.”
Central (27-4), ranked third in the state, moves on to the 2A Pinckneyville Sectional and earned a rematch with Dupo Regional champ Marquette (21-9) at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Central beat Marquette 38-36 last Friday in a last-second shot by Kohrmann.
“I’m very proud of my guys, all 14 of them,” Central coach Jeremy Shubert said. “We battled hard tonight and our guys played really good defense there in the second half.”
Kohrmann piled up 53 points during regional wins on back-to-back days and is averaging close to 20 points this season.
What changed for the Cougars after a tight first half?
“I think our tempo definitely changed,” Kohrmann said. “In the first half we were kind of timid and letting them pay their game. We needed to speed it up in the second half and that’s what we did.
“It’s definitely a bounce-back year for us and it feels good.”
He’s just a tough matchup. He’s got some strength and some size and some quickness — and he guards. A lot of people think about his offensive game a lot, but he’s a very good defender.
Carlyle coach Andy Palmer on Logan Kohrmann
Palmer said he will be happy when Kohrmann graduates.
“He’s a big-time player and a big-game player,” Palmer said of Kohrmann, who had 16 of his 27 points in the second half and hit eight straight free throws in the fourth quarter. “We had done a pretty good job on him the first two times we played them; I think we held him to nine and 11. Tonight he was aggressive, he got to the rim and that was a big difference (because) I know he shot a lot of free throws.
“He’s just a tough matchup. He’s got some strength and some size and some quickness — and he guards. A lot of people think about his offensive game a lot, but he’s a very good defender.”
Carlyle got 12 points from Maverick Taylor while Tyler Siever had 10. Central senior Chase Schneider had 11 for Central and his defense inside helped limit Carlyle center Connor Toennies to just seven points.
“We were a little bit hesitant and our passes weren’t as strong as they needed to be,” Palmer said. “We knew they were going to double-(team) in there but we just didn’t get it in there enough.”
Central’s 6-foot-7 sophomore Tyler Joest came off the bench to score 10 points and helped key the win.
Rule’s 3-pointer seemed to light a fire under the Cougars, who quickly stretched the lead to 13 points in the fourth quarter and never looked back.
Kohrmann erupted for eight points in the first quarter before heading to the bench with two fouls. He stayed there into the second quarter before returning and had 11 points in the first half.
Central led 13-12 after the first quarter but Carlyle led briefly until Kohrmann drained a 3-pointer.