DENAIR — It was as if the scoreboard was playing mind games with the Denair High boys basketball team. In one moment, the Coyotes were up by nearly double-digits. Then the next moment, they were down by a bunch.
After that, it was hard to stop Central Catholic High’s momentum.
For much of the final three quarters, the Coyotes looked powerless against a well-rounded Central Catholic team that overcame an early deficit by pounding the ball inside to their big men and shooting lights-out from beyond the arc in a 73-51 win to capture the championship of the annual Denair High Tournament on Saturday night.
Denair was up 13-4 with 2 minutes, 25 seconds left in the first quarter. But the Raiders responded accordingly, going on a 9-2 tear that seemingly took the air out of the Coyotes, who just couldn’t recover. And it also hurt that Central Catholic made eight 3-pointers, as Kyler Wilson and Chad Schimunek combined to connect on all but one.
Wilson finished with 18 points after going 7-for-13 from the field and Schimunek contributed 13 points, while big man Mike Gardner went 8-for-12 to complete a 17-point effort. John Fenton added 13 points.
It was an all-around performance that the Coyotes (6-4 overall after Saturday) expected from a high-caliber team like the Raiders, who improved to 8-3 overall.
“We might’ve let the crowd get to us, I don’t know,” said Denair’s Colby Wooten, who finished with 13 points. “We started to play sloppy. As the game kept going, we started to let that get into our heads. We got a technical. We started fouling out and it started going downhill.”
Clayton McDonald was once again the scoring leader for the Coyotes, as he finished with 16 points.
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