Courier sports staff
The bookends of the regular season did not go according to plan for the Centerville boys basketball team well.
Everything in between the first and last games, however, was simply perfection.
Tuesday night, the fourth-ranked Big Reds finished the regular season the same way they began it - with a road loss. Junior Bryce Bortscheller scored 18 points and hit five of Pella’s 10 3-pointers as the Little Dutch snapped Centerville’s school-record 18-game winning streak with a surprising 69-61 win.
“It was just a rough night. We couldn’t get the ball to go in and they had no trouble,” Centerville head coach Matt Kruzich said. “The kind of the defense we play, if a team hits those shots from the outside and takes care of the ball, they can give us a rough night.”
Michael Starcevich scored a game-high 22 points to lead Centerville, who trailed early 17-12 and were still behind by two heading to the final quarter. The Big Reds scored 21 points in the final eight minutes, only to be topped by 27 from the 13-8 Little Dutch. Sophomore Isaac Naaktgeboren added 15 points and was 11-12 from the foul line to seal the Big Reds second loss of the year with the first coming at Fort Madison 69-55 in Nov. 26 season opener.
“I think it’s a good thing for the guys,” Kruzich said. “It will get us grounded and get us ready for the postseason.”
Payton Busch added 13 points and five assists while Logan Dabney added a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double. Fourth-ranked Centerville (18-2) begins postseason play at home against Knoxville Monday night in the Class 3A, District 12 semifinals at 7 p.m.
“It’s been a great year. Now we focus on Knoxville,” Kruzich said. “We just want to come out and get back to business.”
Pella 69, Centerville 61
C’V 12 15 13 21 — 61
Pella 17 12 13 27 — 69
Centerville (61) — Michael Starcevich 22, Payton Busch 13, Logan Dabney 13, Kolton Gonnerman 6, Garret Faris 6, Levi Sebolt 1. Totals 22 FG 10-15 FT 61.
3-point goals — 7 (Busch 3, Dabney 2, Starcevich 2). Fouled out — Faris. Rebounds — 30 (Dabney 12). Assists — 13 (Busch 5). Steals — 4 (Starcevich 2, Gonnerman 2). Blocks — 3 (Dabney 3). Total fouls — 22. Turnovers — 9.