A second reversal of fortune in a three-day period wasn’t in the cards for Aberdeen’s boys.
Hodges Bailey poured through 35 points as Centralia topped the Bobcats, 73-61, in an Evergreen 2A Conference boys basketball game Wednesday night at Sam Benn Gym.
The Bobcats, who had avenged a 21-point loss to Hoquiam with an 82-53 victory on Monday, had dropped a 75-39 decision at Centralia last month.
They were far more respectable in the rematch, actually leading 14-7 late in the first quarter. But they had no answer for Centralia’s size and for Bailey.
The Tigers (5-3, 12-7), who go 6-5, 6-3, 6-3 in the front line, dominated the paint throughout and decisively outrebounded the undersized Bobcats.
“It’s disheartening when we play good defense, they miss a shot and get an offensive rebound and put it back in,” Aberdeen coach Mark Buckman said.
Bailey, a senior guard, didn’t score in the first quarter but more than compensated thereafter. His performance included four 3-point baskets and a sparkling 13-of-13 effort from the foul line.
Senior guard Victor Gomez led the Bobcats (2-6, 7-11) with 18 points. Senior post Braden Castleberry-Taylor added 14 points and seven rebounds and senior wing Josh Collett 10 points for Aberdeen.
The contest swung in the second quarter. Bailey, who opened the period by making all ends of a three-shot foul, tallied 12 points in the period. After making three treys in the first quarter, the Bobcats went cold from the perimeter and connected on only 3-of-16 from the floor in the second stanza. That combination helped rally the Tigers to a 30-22 halftime lead.
“The difference in the game was the second quarter,” Buckman said. “We want to push the tempo and stay in rhythm and we got away from that.”
Down by 17 midway through the third quarter, the Bobcats closed to within nine, 53-44, when Collett’s quarter-ending shot was ruled to have beaten the buzzer from beyond the 3-point arc. Both portions of the call were vigorously but vainly disputed by the Centralia contingent.
The Tigers then scored the opening eight points of the fourth quarter to reclaim a 17-point advantage.
Three-balls from reserves Harlan Troy and Jake Metke enabled the Cats to reduce the deficit to 65-57 with 2:19 remaining. But Bailey, the last man Aberdeen wanted to foul in such a situation, canned all six of his free throws in the final two minutes to wrap it up.
Aberdeen point guard Ben Dublanko, who handed out five assists, was also cited by Buckman for his defense.
This was the first time in more than a half-century (indeed, since Sam Benn Gym was built) that the Tigers visited Aberdeen without legendary coach Ron Brown. Centralia’s head coach for 56 years, the 82-year-old Brown was granted a leave of absence last month due to health reasons. The Tigers wore his name on the back of their warm-up jerseys.
Trailing Chehalis by one game in the race for the conference’s fourth and final district berth, the Bobcats travel to Rochester on Friday.
Centralia 10 20 23 20 — 73 Aberdeen 14 8 22 17 — 61
Centralia (73) — Pertzborn 11, Thomas 6, Bailey 35, Ashmore 7, Edwards 8, Shute 6, Trevino. FG — 25-52 (.481). FT — 18-21.
Aberdeen (61) — Roiko 6, Dublanko 7, Collett 10, Gomez 18, Castleberry-Taylor 14, Coburn, Bojorge, Troy 3, Metke 3. FG — 22-55 (.400). FT — 9-12.
JV — Centralia 59, Aberdeen 50. Dayln Barragan 14 points for Aberdeen.