CHAMPAIGN – Lawrence "Mickey" Kinney was battling more than an opponent Saturday night.
"Mick is sicker than a dog," Centennial basketball coach Tim Lavin said, "and he was struggling,"
At least for the first half, he was. No points. One shot. One miss.
Then, within the first minute of the third quarter, Peoria Richwoods guard Preston Wells made the mistake of trying to intimidate the Chargers senior. Kinney didn't appreciate a deliberate bump from Wells and took even greater offense to a certain word the Knights sophomore directed at him.
"There was a play where he got bumped and the guy said something to him and he got kind of fired up," Lavin said.
Said Kinney: "Yeah, that was inspiring."
It showed. With Centennial trailing 27-21, the 5-foot-7 point guard responded with a nine-point salvo the rest of the quarter to help pull the Chargers into a 35-35 tie.
Ultimately, however, Kinney and his teammates had no answer for Richwoods' own salvo. The Knights fired in nine three-pointers to pull out a 46-41 nonconference victory and end Centennial's winning streak at four.
"When I scouted them, they didn't make (threes) like that," said Lavin, who took in Richwoods' double-overtime loss to Washington last month at the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament. "And even some of the box scores – I've got a bunch of (Richwoods) box scores – they didn't shoot it like that."
Junior guard Nate DesJardins (four three-pointers) and Wells (three) did most of the long-range damage for the Knights (10-9). Richwoods' quickness was damaging to the Chargers, too, as the Knights set up those shots with dribble penetration and kickout passes to the perimeter.
"They just attack, and they're quick," Kinney said, "and they just kick it out."
Said Lavin: "We didn't do a very good job of help (defense) and recovering, and they got some open looks. And to their credit, they knocked them down."
Richwoods' quickness also made Centennial's task on offense tougher. Chargers center Josh Piper, who entered the weekend averaging 19.6 points, was limited to 12 – one more than Kinney.
"They did a nice job of pressuring the perimeter, which made it difficult for us to get the ball into the post," said Lavin, whose team tied its second-lowest point total of the season. "They force the issue defensively."
Urbana 63, Kankakee 58. Devin Carter scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Tigers to a nonconference home win. Urbana got 18 points from Brandon Glass, who sank four of his team's six three-pointers.
Rock Island 70, Central 46. Jay Simpson had a double-double (13 points, 15 rebounds) and Clayton Jones scored 15 points for the Maroons in a road loss.
Gary (Ind.) West Side 50, Danville 41. The Vikings saw their five-game winning streak halted at the West Carroll Manny's Shootout in Mount Carroll. Joey Robinson led Danville with 15 points, while Dennis Hightower (11) and D'Lando Carter (10) also scored in double figures for the Vikings.