KANKAKEE — The Centennial boys’ basketball team might have been short-handed, but they weren’t short on scoring, thanks to Michael Finke.
The 6-foot-9 senior racked up a career-high 42 points Tuesday night, propelling the Chargers to a 68-58 victory against Kankakee.
“Michael really stepped up and had a big game for us,” Centennial coach Tim Lavin said. “We really need it and he needed it.”
The Chargers (22-4) played without starting guard Khalil Toombs as well as two other members of the regular rotation: forwards Kasey Elam-Carter and Steven Lee.
“Just some team stuff,” Lavin said.
In their absence, University of Illini signee Finke produced Centennial’s highest point total since current Illini Rayvonte Rice piled up 45 points on Dec. 18, 2009, against Champaign Central.
“We had some key players out and I knew I had to step up tonight,” Finke said. “I felt really good tonight, and my teammates found me.”
Finke finished with 15 field goals, including three three-pointers. He also grabbed 15 rebounds and had a handful of assists.
“He got a little bit of everything — inside, outside,” Lavin said. “Michael’s a senior. Michael is going to the U of I. Michael realized that he needed to do something special for his team and he stepped up. He just had a good game.”
Quin Nottingham added 10 points for Centennial, which managed to muster up a weeknight road win against a nonconference opponent while playing without several key players.
“This is a game that probably didn’t mean anything, but we came out and got a win, and it should help our momentum going into the (regional) tournament,” Finke said.
Lavin noted the resolve of his team, too, under challenging circumstances.
“Coming on a Tuesday night and with some guys missing, I thought we responded pretty well,” he said. “Their coach said they had been playing well.”