STERLING – A stronger, taller Central High team held a four-point halftime lead and never looked back while handing the Sterling Tigers their first loss of the season 44-32 Tuesday night.
Sterling’s 32 points was the team’s lowest point production of the season as the Tigers struggled with their shooting while Central played a tough inside game that sent the Bronchos to the free-throw line five times in the fourth period.
“They (Central) are a super good team. We knew they would be good with their height and strength,” Sterling head coach Trent Parrish said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well and that affected the outcome.”
Sterling, 4-1, will learn from the loss just as the team did in its four consecutive wins to start the season, the coach said.
“We still have room to grow. Tonight’s game was a speed bump. You don’t turn it into a mountain, and we keep on going. Losses aren’t good, but they’re not necessarily a bad thing, either. It teaches you lessons, and you just keep moving forward.”
Senior Nate Anderson led Sterling in scoring with seven points followed by Max Puccio with six. Hayden Taliaferro, Tate Hughes and Riley Lile each contributed four points in the loss.
Sterling held the lead six times in the first half before Central tallied the final five points to take a 24-20 lead at intermission. The Bronchos outscored Sterling 12-7 in the third period, but the Tigers hurt themselves by missing five of six free throws during that time span.
The Tigers stayed within striking distance during the final period when Sterling played a more aggressive defense. But that move also sent the Bronchos to the charity stripe where they connected on four of seven attempts to seal the win.
Neither team was an offensive juggernaut in the final eight minutes as Central outscored Sterling, 8-5.
Sterling travels to Cyril for a Dec. 2 matchup followed by another road game at Cement Dec. 6. The team will compete in the Geronimo Tournament Dec. 8-10.