Kinney, Stefan key latset Big 12 outburst
CHAMPAIGN – Boys' basketball in the Big 12 Conference this season has developed into a series of stellar offensive showings.
Champaign Central has eclipsed the 100-point mark once and hit 93 in two other games.
Danville and Decatur Eisenhower each have enjoyed 90-point games. Bloomington has a single-game high of 83, and Decatur MacArthur has scored 79.
Not to be outdone are Centennial's Chargers. After Tuesday night's 90-60 shellacking of Danville, coach Tim Lavin's squad has averaged 90.7 points in its last three games.
Senior Tyler Stefan, who netted 5 of 5 three-point shots against the Vikings, is looking for more from his team, however.
"Our defense needs to get better," Stefan said. "We've been giving up 70 points in a game, and we have to get that down before regionals (which will be played at Centennial)."
Danville and Centennial matched points throughout the first half of the first quarter. Stefan's first three-point shot of the game, at the 3:01 mark, snapped an 8-8 tie.
The Chargers never trailed thereafter and built their first 30-point lead midway through the third period.
"We shot awfully well, and when you shoot well, that makes everything look pretty good," Lavin said.
Actually, everything was pretty good.
– The Chargers committed 11 turnovers, but four occurred in the fourth quarter when Lavin substituted liberally.
– Centennial, the state's eighth-ranked Class 3A team, had the game's top two rebounders and dominated the boards 44-26. Jeff Johnson grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds and Rayvonte Rice had nine.
– Four of five Charger starters made at least half of their shots, and the team connected on 52.4 percent of its attempts overall.
Danville coach Gary Tidwell said Centennial was even more impressive than when it handed the Vikings a season-opening 31-point loss 71 days previously.
"They have good perimeter shooters, a good inside attack, a solid point guard and they play solid defensively," Tidwell said. "They showed why they have such a good record. They have too many horses.
"It's hard to beat a team like that which is so well-balanced."
Junior James Kinney was another of the Chargers' stars. He turned what was a competitive game after one quarter (with Centennial leading 19-14) into a runaway by halftime (with Centennial leading 48-25).
Kinney scored 16 second-quarter points and had a 1:37 stretch where he nailed 3 of 3 three-pointers.
Stefan has seen it before. He expects he'll see it again.
"James has the ability to take over games," Stefan said, "and if he's not scoring, he's finding teammates to get the ball to for wide-open shots."
Kinney scored a game-high 26 points. Stefan swished 15 points. Johnson's 12-point night gave him the game's only double-double, and Rice added 10 points.
Lavin said Johnson has emerged as a consistent force inside.
"He's getting better and better each game," Lavin said. "He did a nice job going to the boards and keeping Mikel (Brigham) off the boards. For a big kid (6-foot-6) and for being a sophomore, he passes the ball outstanding."
Brigham had 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Terrell Duckworth led the Vikings with 15 points. Collis Lillard had 14.
"Terrell and Collis both competed and took it to the basket strong," Tidwell said. "I was pleased with them."