Article originally published @ HuskerlandPreps.com, written by Bob Jensen with permission to published on Centura’s website from Bob Jensen.
With four starters back from last year’s 13-win season Centura boys’ basketball is aiming high in 2018, despite some bumps in the road.
Though the Centurions are “only” 7-5 the fact the program would view a winning record as “only” anything is quite an achievement. Not long ago there was a string of four-and-five win seasons on the Centura ledger but the winning has become a familiar friend for the C-2 program.
“This is a close bunch and they could develop into an outstanding basketball squad by the end of the season,” says veteran head coach Dave Oman, who should know what an outstanding basketball squad looks like. Earlier in his career he won a Class A state title at Norfolk, two more at Grand Island. “We don’t have a lot of height (only three players over 6-foot-tall) and we lack depth but this is a team where the players like one another and they are very unselfish.”
Centura has played outstanding basketball much of the season, sometimes even in defeat, as three of its losses have come to 9-4 Adams Central (by 4 points), 13-2 Riverside (by six points), and 12-1 Cozad (by seven points). And it’s a good thing the Centurions have held up against the kind of high caliber competition because more is on the way; next week Centura faces 13-4 St. Paul, 10-2 Fullerton and a 12-2 Ravenna in a span of four days.
“We have our LouPlatte Conference Tournament coming up and it is always loaded and our subdistrict tournament will also be a big challenge with Sutton, St. Cecilia, and Doniphan-Trumbull in it,” says Coach Oman.
Centura starts two seniors in its lineup, including 6-2 Dawson Caspersen, a returning all-conference player who is averaging 13.6 points and four rebounds per game, and Payton Dowse, a 6-foot-tall guard. 6-3 Ben Oman is the team’s point guard and 6-3 Joe Carey are junior starters, both of them returning second-team all-conference selections. Oman is a versatile sort, averaging 10.4 points and six rebounds per game, leading the team in assists (69), steals (27), and made three-pointers; Carey leads the team in scoring (15.8 ppg), rebounding (10.9 rpg) and blocked shots (21).
Junior Noah Wooden, a 5-10 guard, is averaging 9.5 points per game, is second in assists and steals and leads the team in free throw percentage. Point is, it’s all hands on deck for the Centurions, with everybody pitching in.
“To win at the end of the year you have to have a good balance between your inside game and your perimeter game, ” says Oman. Remember, the guy won three state titles, so listen up. “You also want to be playing good defense and executing your half-court offense, knowing how to play and how to make plays. You also need some luck at the end of the year!”
True, but you do all that other stuff and my guess is you’re making your own luck. And while you are throwing around some good end-of-season luck you could sprinkle some on the Centurions; in the program’s 51 years it has qualified for the state tournament only twice.
“We have a good team with good players at all of starting positions. We can shoot the ball decent and we are getting better defensively,” says Coach Oman. “Our kids have worked hard and they want to make the most of this season, especially when it counts the most.”