MT. VERNON — Centralia hit 9-of-11 free throws in the final quarter and held off Mt. Vernon 47-46 on Friday night to claim a season sweep of the Rams.
Free throws played an important role down the stretch when the Rams became impatient on offense and clumsy defensively in allowing the Orphans to climb out of a six-point deficit after three quarters.
Mt. Vernon led 33-27 after the third stop, ending the quarter on a 9-0 run. Centralia took its first lead in the second half on a 3-ball from Ryan Obermeier. The Orphans scored the first eight points of the final quarter, including a pair of treys from Jake Wood and Obermeier to grab a 37-33 advantage.
Free throws from Braden Fitzjerrells and Doug Garner cut the lead to two, but Obermeier buried a pair of charity tosses with just under two minutes to go for a 39-35 Orphans lead. Fitzjerrells missed the front end of a double bonus, but nailed the second and then Chase Alcorn missed on a one-and-bonus on the other end of the court with 94 seconds to go.
“What I thought got us beat was we panicked in our offense,” said Rams’ coach Scott Gamber. “From about 1:30 to 1:40 we shot the ball really quick four times in a row when we didn’t need to. There was still plenty of time on the clock for us to get a good shot … all we have to do is work it and get a good shot. You can’t force the issue the way we did.”
The Rams cut the lead to one, 39-38, on two free throws from Dylan Reeves at the 1 1/2 minute mark and De’Ontre Cunningham hit one of two from the line for a 40-38 lead at the 1:27 mark. Obermeier’s two tosses with 65 seconds left gave the Orphans a 42-38 lead and following one free throw each from teammates