JESSIEVILLE — The Centerpoint Knights overcame a sluggish first quarter to claim a spot in the Class 3A State Playoffs by defeating Paris 54-47.
In the first quarter the Eagles defense stymied the Knights offense, holding them to 4 points in taking a 10-4 lead into the second quarter.
Knights starter David Banda had a tough evening, missing time after collecting two first quarter fouls, then injuring his leg in the third that kept him out of the game until 1:00 remaining in the contest.
Almost halfway through the second quarter the Knights began the comeback. Three quick scores – including two by Keenan Owens – pulled the Knights to a 14-12 deficit.
Late in the second Centerpoint took a brief lead on two Dustin Forsythe FTs, but paris would hit three of their own in the remaining time to take a 24-22 lead into the half.
After quickly equaling the score in the third at 26-26, a Paris turnover at 6:28 gave Tanner Brunt an open look for a three-pointer to give the Knights a lead.
Paris would exchange scores with Centerpoint in tying the game before they lost their cool in the middle of the third quarter. A technical foul was called on Paris’ Justin Ramos for saying something to a referee, which was compounded by a technical on Eagles head coach Mike Foster for arguing the call.
The Knights could only hit 2 of 4 FTs and failed to score on the bonus possession, giving them a 33-31 lead.
After a Paris FT, two Lance Chambers consecutive layups pushed the lead to 37-32.
Centerpoint kept the pressure up. After a Paris score cut the lead to two, a Dalton Cox layup and a Forsythe steal and score set the lead at 41-34.
The feisty Eagles refused to die, however, getting a score before the end of the third and hitting two three pointers sandwiched around a Knight bucket to make the score 43-42.
Brunt would hit a basket and a Giovanni Valdez steal and assist to Forsythe opened the lead to 47-42.
A Paris FT and basket with 2:43 in the fourth closed the gap to 47-45, but, much like a heavyweight fight going back and forth, the Knights were ready for their turn – and this time, a knockout punch.
Tanner Owens connected for a double, and after Paris missed two three point attempts, a Brunt three pointer pushed the lead to 52-45. Tanner Owens would immediate come up with another steal, and a pass ahead to Cox put Centerpoint ahead 54-45 with 1:38 left in the game.
The Eagles were able to add one more score to make the final 54-47 complete, ending their season at 14-12.
Paris was led by Chris Graham with 14 points and 2 three pointers, Gage Hampton with 10 and Talik Robinson 8.
Leading scorers for Centerpoint were Brunt with 13, Cox 12, Valdez 8 and Chambers 8.
The Knights move on to a date in the Saturday semifinals with 3A’s number one ranked squad, the Cedar Ridge Timberwolves.
Cedar Ridge, 33-3 on the season, is led by NCAA division one signee Austin Reaves, who will play for Wichita State next season.