PARK HILLS — The Fredericktown Blackcats gave a desperate try to get into the race for second-place in the MAAA Large-School Conference as they pushed the Central Rebels to the limits with their last rushed shot falling short as the buzzer sounded, giving Central a 57-55 win to keep at least a share of second-place.
Central (12-8 and 3-1 MAAA) made just enough free throws to stay in front in the final minutes, but they also missed just enough to give the Blackcats a chance to steal the win away. The Rebels were 5-11 at the line in the fourth quarter.
Fredericktown (7-10 and 1-3 MAAA) trailed by seven going into the final minute of play, but a three-pointer by Caleb Killian capped a 7-2 run for the Blackcats that fell short by two free throws from Central’s Aaron Tyree.
The Rebels shot 57 percent from the floor as they utilized an inside-outside game plan. Attacking the basket in the first quarter gave Central the lead as Fredericktown relied on their three-point shooting to try and open up Central’s defense. Tanner Ward gave Fredericktown their largest lead of five with a banked three at the buzzer to end the first quarter.
Working the ball inside to their 6’7” center Brock Mills late in the first quarter, the Blackcats were able to produce points on nearly every trip down the court to maintain their lead throughout the first half.
Tanner Skaggs kept Central in the game in the second quarter as he scored 12 of the Rebels 16 points in the quarter, including a pair of threes. Skaggs led all players in scoring with 22 points.
Central was stymied on inside play with Mills blocking four of their shots and cleaning the boards with 12 rebounds, but the Rebels made good on the Blackcats turnovers to score in transition, tying up the game early in quarter three and then pushing out to an 11-point lead before baskets by Killian and Mills made it 44-37 going into the last frame.
Central slowed down the pace to chew up valuable clock time in the fourth quarter to maintain their lead until the final minutes of play when Fredericktown put the Rebels on the line.
Fredericktown 16 12 9 18 – 55
Central 11 16 17 13 – 57
Fredericktown – Brock Mills 19, Caleb Killian 16, Tanner Ward 13, Keith Jackson 2. 3-point FG – Killian 2, Ward.
Central – Tanner Skaggs 22, Donovan Jones 15, Zach Cunningham 12, Aaron Tyree 6, Donnie Bess 2. 3-point FG – Skaggs 2.