Senior guard Nick Moore sparked a second half push to lead the top seeded Camp Point Central Panthers into the semifinal round with a 44-27 victory over Monmouth-Roseville in the final game of the Friday evening session. Leading by just three points at the break, Central’s undefeated run was in jeopardy. After a perfect 14-0 football season and a 9-0 start to basketball, the Panthers faced a tough test with the Titans trailing just 17-14. In fact, Monmouth-Roseville was looking for its 10th win of the campaign, too. Moore, who had been held to five points in the first half, put the team on his back with a series of aggressive plays. He scored on drives to the bucket on the Panthers’ first three possessions, and then later set up a three-pointer by Kaiden Lohmeyer with a quick pass out to the wing to gain a 26-15 lead.
Central would go on to score on six of its first seven possessions of the half when Gavin Blewitt converted a three-point play with 3:20 remaining in the third quarter. The run would eventually extend to 15-1 to begin the third quarter, giving Central its largest lead of the game at 32-15. Monmouth-Roseville climbed back within 12 two times the rest of the way, but could never overcome a cold shooting night, or the Panthers’ defense. The Titans were held to 24 percent shooting from the field, which included a 2-for-14 effort from three-point territory. Moore finished with a game-high 18 points, 13 coming after intermission. He was one of three Panthers with three assists in the game, including Blewitt, who added seven points, six rebounds, and four steals to his all-around effort.
Payton Thompson was the leading scorer for Monmouth-Roseville with seven points. Nico Avendano had six points and six boards for the Titans, who out-rebounded Central 28-24 and led for almost the entire first quarter.
The Panthers move into the semifinals for the second consecutive year where they will meet Macomb for a 2:30 pm tip-off on Saturday. Central has never won the Macomb-Western Holiday Tournament. Monmouth-Roseville will play the A-Town Tornadoes in the 5th Place bracket at 10:30 am. at Western Hall. It will be a rematch from a December 18 game won by Abingdon-Avon 53-48.