Tony Romero knew the numbers weren’t going to be good.
They turned out to be far worse than he imagined.
When he received the halftime stat sheet as his Central Christian College Tigers trailed Oklahoma Wesleyan 39-22 here Saturday, he stared at the field-goal shooting percentages. It added up to just 5 of 36, one reason his team was in such a hole.
While it warmed up in the second half and played the Eagles dead-even over the final 20 minutes, the nightmarish start led to a 67-50 setback, Central’s first after three wins.
“I was disappointed with our guys’ effort,” said Romero, whose team was attempting to make it 3-0 against KCAC schools. “We came out flat. The last two days of practice had shown that. You shoot 14 percent in the first half and you’re not going to win a game. I didn’t think we guarded with a lot of passion. We’re a new team and still trying to figure it out.”
The Tigers were down 21-8 early and made a modicum of a run, but the Eagles were simply too athletic and had a lot of bodies to throw at the Tigers.
“Donnie (OW head coach Bostwick) does a great job with them,” Romero said. “They’ve got a lot of talent.”
Paul Ard II led Central with 13 points. The Tigers finished 14 of 59 from the field and made just 20 of 30 free throws. Kendric Warren yanked down 13 rebounds, one more than teammate Jubril Osagie.
All-KCAC preseason pick Breiman Alexander scored 19 points to lead the Eagles.
Oklahoma Wesleyan was held to 42 percent from the field by the Tigers, but they had a 9-2 advantage in 3-pointers, a 21-point difference.
Central heads to Hays on Wednesday for an exhibition game with the Tigers, who have McPherson High graduates Kyler Kinnamon and Payton Stephens playing key roles. Fort Hays is 1-1 on the season, but the game doesn’t count for Central.
Central (50) — Warren 2, Osagie 9, Martin 8, Lenard 2, Ard II 13, Arnada 2, Daniels 2, Williams 2, Kuminga 4, Simpson 6.
OW (67) — Alexander 19, Lawrence 4, Malveau 15, Hamilton 7, Harris 2, Beck 3, Rowe 9, Jackson 5, Achbar 3.
• OKLAHOMA WESLEYAN WOMEN 99, CENTRAL 70 — The Tigers are starting to figure it out offensively, but still have a long way to go on the defensive end.
Central, now 0-4, had only 11 turnovers, it gave up 51 points in the first half to fall behind by 25.
Holly Golden’s 18 points led CCC, Abbie Banks had 16 and Abigail Anderson came off the bench for 14. Havanna Yannello had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
"The team is slowly becoming more balanced with its production,” first-year CCC coach Marc Golden said. “More and more players are getting double figures each game and we had a season-low 11 turnovers. Now we have to tighten up our defense and commit to keeping opponents under 60 points. When we can do that we will compete with anyone."
Central plays an exhibition game Monday at Nebraska-Kearney.
Central (70) — Mefford 2, Regier 2, Banks 16, Yannello 12, Golden 18, Forsberg 2, Hearne 1, Gonzales 3, Anderson 14.
OW (99) — Goodwin 6, Pospichal 8, Rieger 16, Hutchins 3, Short 6, Been 12, Merchant 6, Strong 6, Rose 5, Gitau 20, Hajdukovich 11.