Boys Basketball

Two hot teams with all-state guards will collide when Central takes on St. Joe-Ogden at state tourney

Central Cougars senior Logan Kohrmann was chosen as a second-team Class 2A All-State pick Thursday by The Associated Press.
Central Cougars senior Logan Kohrmann was chosen as a second-team Class 2A All-State pick Thursday by The Associated Press. Dennis Kellerman

As the Central Cougars’ top scorer and top defender, senior Logan Kohrmann could have avoided guarding fellow all-stater Brandon Trimble from St. Joseph-Ogden at the Class 2A state tournament.

However, backing down from a challenge isn’t in Kohrmann’s DNA and expect the senior standout to see plenty of the high-scoring Trimble when the Cougars (30-4) take on St. Joseph-Ogden (22-9) in the 6:30 p.m. semifinal game Friday in Peoria.

“If Logan doesn’t get a chance to guard him he’d be upset at me,” Central coach Jeremy Shubert said of Kohrmann, a second-team all-state pick who will be going up against a first-team all-stater in Trimble. “He wants a shot at the other team’s best player. He may not tell me that, but inside I think that’s the challenge he wants.”

DESTINATION PEORIA: Veteran Central coaching staff keeps bringing talented teams to state

Central’s traditionally tight defense has confounded plenty of opponents this season. The Cougars limit teams to an average of 43.8 points and only six opponents have scored 50 or more points in 34 contests.

“We’re 30-4 because of our defense,” Shubert said.

Going out as state champions would be the greatest thing ever.

Central senior Logan Kohrmann

Central brings an eight-game winning streak into Peoria’s Carver Arena and is playing its best basketball of the season.

“Hopefully we can continue our streak right now because we’re playing pretty well,” Kohrmann said. “Going out as state champions would be the greatest thing ever.”

St. Joseph-Ogden also has won eight in a row and boasts a team that likes to get up and down the court in a hurry and capable of scoring in bunches.

The winner will meet either Hales Franciscan (20-12) or Rockridge (27-4) in the 2A state title game at 8:15 p.m. while the loser will play for third place.

Most of the current Cougars, including seniors Kohrmann, Chase Schneider, Corben Zanger, Mitchel Rule, Tarik Tibbs and Ryan Kuper, were in eighth grade when Central won the 2012 state title in the same arena.

“I just remember seeing (Brandon) Book’s perfect shot, his shot is what I remember the most about the game, and Jacob Timmermann’s defense,” Kohrmann said. “They had five great starters that year and played really well as a team. I definitely knew we had a good chance this year with all our returning players and experience, but we weren’t counting on it right away.

“There were a lot of tough teams along the path, but when we shoot the ball well we’re pretty good.”

Shubert has watched team go from one that many times relied almost exclusively on Kohrmann to score to a ball-sharing, outside-shooting, high-percentage scoring machine.

Central has posted back-to-back lopsided wins over Nashville (73-59) in the sectional final and Teutopolis (67-52) in the super-sectional.

“We’ve shot it really well; 70 percent against Nashville and 48 percent against T-Town with their pressure and intense defense,” Shubert said. “Logan had four threes (Tuesday) and we had nine overall.”

Scouting St. Joseph-Ogden

The Spartans have gotten a lot of mileage out of Trimble, a 6-foot-2 junior guard averaging 26.7 points. Trimble has games of 44 and 41 points this season while reaching 30 or more points nine times.

He went over 1,000 points earlier this season with another full season to go.

“We haven’t guarded somebody with that high of a scoring average all year,” Shubert said. “They do a lot of the same things that we do, set ball screens and try to attack the rim.”

St. Joe-Ogden got fourth at state in 2013 and has more solid scoring from senior guard Jake Pence (9.7 points per game), 6-2 senior Aaron Schluter (9.4 ppg) and 6-3 senior Kohlten Johnson (8.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game).

The lone common opponent is Nashville, a team Central whacked 73-59 in the sectional final and also beat 51-48 during the regular season. St. Joe-Ogden beat Nashville 64-55 at the Bank of O’Fallon Shootout.

Scouting Central

Secondary scorers like junior Jack Strieker (nine points, 5.4 rebounds per game), senior Chase Schneider (8.3 ppg, 68 3-pointers) and Kolby Schulte (6.6 ppg, 90 assists) have really elevated their games in the playoffs. Mitchel Rule, Corben Zanger and Tyler Joest have also enjoyed big postseason moments.

Kohrmann still drives the team, but is also catching more than his share of defensive attention because of his high scoring ways.

Norm Sanders: 618-239-2454, @NormSanders