Central men prevail on buzzer-beater

By Steve Sell
December 08, 2017
Beth Morford

Central Christian College’s first-ever men’s basketball victory in the Sooner Athletic Conference will forever be remembered.

Steve Kuminga’s basket at the buzzer in overtime gave the Tigers a thrilling 89-88 victory over Bacone College on Thursday. Cam Martin threaded the needle with the pass and Kuminga put it down, setting off a wild celebration at Alexander Arena.

“We love drama,” Central coach Tony Romero said. “I am so happy for our guys to finally get through to the win column, we have had a lot of moments in conference where we have played well and led for a chunk of minutes, but we have just struggled finishing games.”

Romero said it was all about believing.

“Tonight we were headed that direction again, but our guys believed until the end making a huge play down the stretch." Romero said. "I credit our guys to being focused in that moment, we haven't worked on that play all year, Cam made a phenomenal pass and Steve made a great finish.”

The Tigers probably wouldn’t have been in position to win if not for the play of freshman TJ Williams.

“TJ definitely didn't play like a freshman tonight, 32 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists that is big time,” Romero said. “I ride him pretty hard, but I am happy for him helping the team tonight. I am hoping we can build some momentum from this."  

Martin scored 14 points for the Tigers, while Kuminga scored 11 and Paul Ard II added 10. Jordan McNellys scored 21 for Bacone.

The Tigers are home Saturday to take on Ozark Christian. Game time is 4 p.m.

Central (89) — Warren 3, Osagie 8, Martin 14, Lenard 3, Ard II 10, Jordan 4, Daniels 4, Williams 32, Kuminga 11.

Bacone (88) — Hopkins 16, Walsh 2, Smith 4, McNellys 21, Pritchett 17, Brown 7, Swift 2, Gammage 19.

•  BACONE WOMEN 97, BACONE 76 — It was a wildly up-and-down and entertaining game, but the result was still the same for the CCC women.

The Tigers dropped to 0-4 in the SAC and 1-11 overall. They were up 23-17 after a spirited first quarter, but were outscored 52-25 over the middle two quarters. Central did score 28 points in the final period to gain some confidence.

Abbie Banks drilled in 27 points to lead Central, five of her baskets coming from 3-point. Holly Golden added 15. Central had all kinds of trouble against Bacone’s pressure with 38 turnovers.

“Bacone played a very good game,” Central coach Marc Golden said. “The pressure began to wear us down about midway through the third quarter. When Kassidy (Forsberg) got into foul trouble we had to go small and that created our rebounding deficit. And we know what happens when we leave the rebounds on the table."

The Tigers have some time off now until Dec. 19 when they play an exhibition game at NCAA Division I school Stephen F. Austin.

Central women (76) — Forsberg 4, Mefford 4, Banks 27, Yannello 8, Golden 15, Hearne 4, Travino 3, Anderson 6, Rails 1, Regier 4.

Bacone (97) — Drummer 10, Jackson 4, Springs 4, Miles 12, Dodson 8, Cleveland 17, Osborn 3, Raimindi 5, Edwards 12, McKinley 5, Rosas 8, Baker 7, Tims 2.