Had the Centralia boys basketball team’s season been just a minute or two longer, the Tigers might have been able to end it on a winning note. But as it was, they couldn’t quite fit an entire comeback into their second half against Shelton, falling 54-53.
Centralia trailed by 11 after a quarter and by 15 at halftime, but turned the offense on in a hurry coming out of the break with a 21-point third quarter. Meanwhile, the defense held Shelton to just 10 points to narrow the gap to four at 44-40, and then did so again in the fourth to give the Tigers a real shot.
Down one with time running down, the Tigers got the ball back twice with a chance to take the lead, but saw both of their shots rim out. Shelton hit a pair of free throws to get its lead back to three points, and Centralia’s shot to tie missed as well. The Tigers got the putback in to cut it back to one as time expired, but that would be all.
Cohen Ballard put in 23 points to lead the Tigers, finishing 5 of 11 from three-point range. Carlos Vallejo scored 20 points and hit three 3-pointers himself, but the rest of the Centralia lineup combined for just nine points.
The Tigers finish the season with a 2-16 record, having gone 0-12 in EvCo play. They’re set to lose one senior to graduation in Darrell Neuert, but will have their entire starting lineup on the way back next year.