The Duncan Banner
Saturday night at Outlaw Gymnasium, the Central High Bronchos gave head coach John Nease a birthday present he won’t soon forget.
In the boys championship game of the Stephens County Tournament, the Bronchos used a fast-paced offense in the second half to take Marlow completely out of the game as CHHS claimed its first boys championship in 10 years with a 54-41 victory over the Outlaws.
“The Stephens County tournament has always had a special place in my family,” Nease said. “To have won it as a player and now as a coach is a very special feeling for me. These kids have just grown together so well and I’m so proud of the way they played tonight.”
Looking at the final score, one might be surprised to know that at the halftime break Central High was only up by one point at 22-21.
“I didn’t use my time at halftime to necessarily talk about basketball,” Nease said. “My talking to the kids was more about motivating them for the second half and getting them ready to go out and win a game.”
But by the end of the third quarter, the Bronchos were running away with the championship as they led 45-30.
Early on though, it was the Outlaws who were controlling the tempo as MHS surprised CHHS with quick passes and clutch shooting from the outside, along with smothering defense down low in the paint.
“We had practiced for certain things we thought Marlow was going to do,” Nease said about the first half. “But what happened was they came out in something completely different. It took us a minute to adjust to the new things they were doing in the first half. Marlow and coach (John) Garrett deserve a lot of credit for how they came out against us.”
Marlow’s biggest lead of the first half was five points at 7-2 with 4:24 left in the first quarter. However, the Bronchos didn’t stay down for long as Dallin Ferrin and Kevin Harris made life extremely difficult for the Outlaws.
“We talked about little things like turnovers and free throws and how they can affect who wins a game,” Marlow coach John Garrett said. “Central High handled the bigger stage better than we did. We had momentum but they were able to weather the storm, and our guys got caught watching the game. Central High is a good team and they deserve a lot of credit for how they played tonight.”
Ferrin led the Bronchos (12-7) with 28 points on the evening, with Harris registering a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds on the night. Zarek Hickman added nine points on the evening with Connor Albiston scoring six points. John Repp scored four points on the night.
“We’re all excited right now as a team to win this,” Ferrin said. “I wanted to step up in this game as a senior and help my team win the game, it wasn’t about how many points I scored. We’ve had some rough games lately, but we have made it through them. This is just the start for us because we want to win bigger things than this.”
Marlow was led by Braeden O’Dell with 12 points followed by Zac Beasler with 11 points. Wes Coast scored eight points with Jackson Huddleston scoring six points in the contest. Kirby Neufeld added four points.