LEWISVILLE – The Celina boys basketball team knew it would need a flawless performance Tuesday night in the regional quarterfinals to take down powerhouse Dallas Carter.
Despite a valiant effort from the Bobcats, they simply could not overcome an all-around uncharacteristically poor shooting performance and saw their season come to an end at the hands of the Cowboys following a 63-47 loss in the third round.
“We didn’t shoot our best tonight,” said Bobby Stastny, Celina head coach. “We had our chances and cut it to 10 at one point, but that’s part of the game. Sometimes you have games like that; we just picked a bad game to shoot poorly.”
Celina simply could not overcome a sluggish second quarter in which the Bobcats mustered just two points off of a pair of Garrison Williams free throws and were outscored 12-2 after they had gone blow-for-blow with Carter in the opening quarter despite a lights-out shooting display from Jalen Williams.
Williams poured in a whopping 17 points in the first quarter alone, highlighted by three makes from beyond the arc and two thunderous dunks to help give the Cowboys a 22-15 lead after one.
“We never saw him shoot like that on the film we had watched,” Stastny said. “But tonight he was just unconscious and everything he was throwing up was going in. We were in his face when he was shooting too, but it is what it is.”
Senior Karson Stastny, who was Celina’s leading scorer during the regular season, was held without a field goal in the first half, and the Cowboys rode an 8-0 run heading into the break. Following a steal by Carter’s Erin Wright late in the second stanza, Karson Stastny was called for an intentional foul as he sent Wright to the ground on a breakaway layup attempt with tempers beginning to flare just before the two sides went to the locker rooms.
The Bobcats came out of the half with more intensity and erased the 17-point halftime deficit with big-time buckets from Karson Stastny and seniors Kobe Ollison and Bryson Brown but just couldn’t cut it to fewer than 10 points down the stretch.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Brown and Karson Stastny early in the third got the Bobcats back within 10 at 46-36, but Carter always had an answer on the other end and led by 12 going into the final frame with Williams and Carter’s 6-foot-9 center Addarin Scott scoring at will.
Senior shooting guard Kade Terry came off the bench in the fourth and knocked down a triple to once again get the score back within 10 at 53-43, but the Bobcats struggled mightily to buy a bucket down the stretch, as Carter cruised to the double-digit victory.
All in all, Celina concluded the 2019-20 campaign with an overall record of 27-7 and clinched its third consecutive district title after not achieving such a feat in over 40 years prior.
“This was the best team I’ve had since I’ve been here,” coach Stastny said. “This was very special because I had eight seniors and coached all of them in a recreation league when they were kids nine years ago. The guys coming up have some big shoes to fill, but we have a good program going and the future looks bright.”