Prep Boys Basketball

Prep notebook: Central boys enjoying turnaround after four-win season

Noah Talton
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 6, 2017 3:15 am

The Central boys basketball team won just four games last season.

An 83-39 victory over Southeastern on Tuesday night gave the Panthers their sixth this year.

As an assistant with the team last season, first-year coach James Barnett saw what could make the team successful. He's putting that to use this season.

"The big thing is we've opened things up for them and let them get out and run," Barnett said. "It's been successful here for a long time with a slower game. That's good with some groups, but as I started looking at them and I wondered what we were good at. We weren't good at a slow it down, bring it up the court game."

The change of pace was welcomed by the Panthers.

"They were very eager to get into it and play like that," Barnett said. "They weren't as enthusiastic I noticed at times last year. But over the summer you saw them get kind of wide-eyed and pay attention a little more. They like the style and they want to get up and down the floor a little more."

It helped Central go 2-2 in last week's Macomb-Western Holiday Tournament, eventually losing in the consolation championship game to Abingdon-Avon. The Panthers believe they could have won that game, and even won their first loss of the tournament to champions Pittsfield.

Barnett said none of the players on roster have experienced a winning season at the varsity level, and are still learning how to consistently win.

"We're still learning how to put things together," he said. "Not just in a game, but from game to game."

Pittsfield's Personett joins 1,000-point club

The Pittsfield boys basketball team's victory over three-time defending Macomb-Western Holiday Tournament champion Taylor Ridge Rockridge in the tournament's quarterfinals meant a little more to the Saukees' Korbyn Personett.

In the victory, he eclipsed the 1,000-career point mark.

Reaching the milestone comes on the heels after he missed the end of his junior season with a foot injury. That same injury caused him to miss the entire baseball season.

"He showed a lot of resiliency for how he approached the injury in the offseason," Pittsfield coach Brad Tomhave said. "He made sure he was fully healthy on that foot before his senior season started and to make sure it didn't happen again."

That attitude has reflected on Personett's teammates, which has resulted in a blazing 11-1 start for the Saukees, which includes the MWHT title.

"He's a senior leader that's been in varsity basketball since a freshman and (his teammates) look up to him," Tomhave said. "When he can lead by example like he has that's a positive for our team and it helps our team in situations where other players might not be as comfortable."

Knox County's Talton does, too

In his second season of varsity basketball, Knox County's Noah Talton seems to have figured things out.

In Knox County's 65-32 victory over Highland in the opening round of the Highland Tournament Tuesday night, Talton scored his 1,000th career point. Talton's career total includes playing for the Kirksville Life Church basketball team.

That still meant Talton had to adjust his game when he got to Knox County.

"He was going from a level basketball than what he was seeing here at Knox," Knox County coach Zach Summers said. "Last year was basically his first year of varsity basketball. He had to adjust to the physicality and the speed of the game."

Knox County coach Zach Summers said Talton's athleticism has influenced his development at the varsity level.

"Just the overall confidence and sureness of himself," Summers said. "He doesn't really think while he's out there. He just goes and lets his skill set take over for him. I don't think people realize where he was last year."