The Osborne boys were on the verge of running Centralia out of the gym, racing out to a 16-5 lead and building a 15-point advantage early in the second quarter of Wednesday's Class 1A Division I tournament.
After that, according to Osborne coach Jamie Wolters, it was clear which team was more battle-tested.
Centralia sliced the deficit to eight by halftime, grabbed the lead in the third quarter and then got the better of the Bulldogs in a wild fourth frame, upsetting Osborne 60-59 in a thriller at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
“They’re in a dogfight every night in their league (Twin Valley), and we haven’t seen that kind of competition,” Wolters said. “Probably the difference in the game. They’re used to playing in those types of games and we’re not.”
Osborne’s Darnell Holloway put the Bulldogs up by a point with 57 seconds left on a 3-point play, but Centralia’s Daegan Steinlage scored the deciding basket on a layup with about 20 seconds remaining.
After Steinlage’s basket, the teams traded turnovers and Osborne (21-2) inbounded the ball past midcourt with four seconds left. The Bulldogs got off a decent look but Steele Wolters' floater in the lane bounced off the backboard as time expired.
Centralia’s rally was fueled by Osborne’s turnover issues, leading to easy baskets for the Panthers, who advanced to face defending champ Hanover in Friday’s 8:15 p.m. semifinal. The Bulldogs finished with 17 turnovers, including 11 in the second half.
“They started making shots there in the second quarter and went on a little run there at the end of the second quarter,” Wolters said. “I thought that was the biggest difference. We had a 15-point lead and it was cut to (eight) there to give them a little bump going into half.
“Third quarter, we just had too many turnovers. Just lazy, slow passes that led to easy baskets. We had 17 turnovers and that’s way too many. Too many of them led to layups of fouls.”
The lead switched hands several times in the fourth quarter before Steinlage put Centralia up for good.
“We’d come down and make a 3-pointer and then they’d come down and make a 3-pointer,” Wolters said. “I thought we were going to be OK there and maybe have a chance to survive but that was a big shot they had.”
Steinlage did the most damage, scoring 14 of his points in the second half.
“We did a really good of first half of getting in front of him and we had good backside help,” Wolters said. “I don’t know if we just got lazy and lost track of him or he was just that active, but we didn’t do a very good job of stopping him.”
Kade Miller led Osborne with 18 points while Darnell Hollaway added 14 and Steele Wolters 11.
“If you said we were going to be 21-2 at the beginning of the year, I would have said ‘We’ll take it,’ Wolters said. “It was a great season for us.”
Hanover 65, Atwood-Rawlins County 44 — Atwood-Rawlins County pushed the defending champs for three quarters before fading in the fourth.
Rawlins County was tied with Hanover at 29 at halftime and trailed by just five at the end of third, but the Buffaloes were outscored 19-3 in the fourth quarter.
Hanover (21-1) was paced by Carter Bruna's 18 points while Williams Peters added 12. The Wildcats shot 44 percent from the field, hitting 26 of 59 attempts.
Nicholas Withington led Rawlins County with a game-high 25 points. The Buffaloes (18-6) were just 1 of 8 from the field in the fourth quarter.
Rawlins County, the No. 6 seed, finished the year 18-6