Courier sports staff
Postseason jitters didn’t seem to bother the fourth-ranked Centerville boys basketball team on Monday.
Four Big Reds scored in double figures — led by Logan Dabney’s 18 points and 12 rebounds — as Centerville opened Class 3A, District 12 postseason play with a 78-50 win over Knoxville.
The Big Reds shot out to a 22-9 first-quarter lead and led 43-16 at the half, leaving no doubt they were ready to start their postseason run.
“I hate to be the favorite going into a game,” said Centerville coach Matt Kruzich. “That just gives all coaches fits.”
Knoxville (0-22) was winless on the season going into the game, and Kruzich didn’t want his team to look past the Panthers and give them any hope of pulling off an upset.
“I told our kids this was our last home court game and they needed to come out and give the crowd a great show, to thank them for the great support we’ve gotten all season,” said Kruzich. “Our starting five is playing really well together as a unit, and we got good contributions off the bench. We were pretty focused on the task at hand.”
Payton Busch scored 13 points, Garrett Faris added 11 and Michael Starcevich scored 10 for Centerville. Kolton Gonnerman scored seven points and came up with seven steals, while Busch dished five assists.
Knoxville was led by Ryan Douglass, who had 15 points while Gerritt Davis added 11.
With the victory, the Big Reds move on in district play and will take on South Central Conference rival Chariton in action at Knoxville on Thursday. Centerville has beaten the Chargers twice this season, but both times Chariton had the game within single digits heading into the fourth quarter.
“They play us well, we won’t look past them,” said Kruzich. “Their kids shoot the ball really well.”
Chariton advanced with a 47-46 win over Oskaloosa on the other side of the Class 3A, District 12 bracket. Charger freshman Daric Laing drilled a 3-point basket as time expired to give Chariton the win. Conincidentally, the Chargers (16-6) had beaten Osky (3-19) by that same 47-46 score in regular season action last Tuesday.
In other area Class 3A boys basketball action Monday, in District 10, Keokuk ended Fairfield’s season with a 65-40 win over the Trojans. Fairfield ends the season with a 4-18 record. Keokuk (16-6) will move on and play 10th-ranked Solon (18-4) at Washington on Thursday.
Centerville 78, Knoxville 50
KNOX 9 7 19 15 — 50
CENT 22 21 17 18 — 78
Centerville (78) — Logan Dabney 18, Payton Busch 13, Garrett Faris 11, Michael Starcevich 10, Kolton Gonnerman 7, Jesse Stufflebeam 5, Jared Armington 4, Jeromy Stufflebeam 3, Levi Sebolt 2, Ben Grothe 2, Garrett McGrann 2, B.J. Gavigan 1. Totals 28 16-19 78.
3-point goals — 6 (Busch 3, Starcevich, Faris, Jes.Stufflebeam). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — 28 (Dabney 12). Assists — 18 (Busch 5). Steals — 17 (Gonnerman 7). Blocks — 3 (Dabney 3). Total fouls — 15. Turnovers — 8.