By John DeCoste
All in all, it was a successful holiday season for the Central Kings boys’ basketball team, which won four of five games to close out 2012.
In league play, the Gators topped West Kings 65-48 Dec. 12 and Middleton 68-43 Dec. 18 to improve their Western Region D-2 league record to 5-0.
CK then won two of three games at a tournament hosted by Park View Dec. 20-21 in Bridgewater, defeating Halifax West 65-46 and host Park View 57-39 before dropping a 101-65 decision to Dartmouth, last year’s provincial D-1 champs.
The results improved the Gators’ overall season record to 15-9, playing against a variety of D-1 and D-2 opposition.
Against West Kings, improved team defence in the second half was the key to victory for the Gators, who got 29 points from Trent Oickle, 19 points and 17 rebounds from Nigel Simmons and seven points from Joe Canavan.
CK head coach Rodney Sabean described the Dec. 18 game against Middleton as “a tale of two halves.” Leading 29-25 at halftime, the Gators once again ramped up the intensity on defense after the intermission and ended up winning by 25.
Oickle shone, collecting 24 points and 11 rebounds. The Gators’ starting backcourt of Kurt Getson (13 points and seven rebounds) and Dylan Poole (10 points, eight rebounds and 12 steals) turned in a strong effort.
At the Holiday Hoop Fest at Park View, CK showed up ready to play in their opener against Halifax West, controlling the game from start to finish and winning by 19.
In what Sabean described as “another strong effort from everyone,” Oickle had 25 points and eight rebounds, Simmons 23 points and 12 boards and Getson 19 points.
In their second game of the day, the Gators played “40 minutes of smothering defence” in holding Park View to just 39 points on the Panthers’ home court.
Simmons finished with 15 points and an equal number of rebounds, Oickle chipped in 12 points, Getson 11 points and Poole dished out eight assists.
Central Kings was at a bit of a disadvantage in the final against Dartmouth, with both Oickle and Jonah Lescheid limited to only a few minutes of playing time due to injury. Nonetheless, the Gators “put together a great team effort, and even though the (101-65) final score doesn’t show it, fought to the end,” Sabean said.
Getson, who was named a tournament all-star, finished with 22 points. Simmons added 12 points and seven rebounds, Poole 10 points and Canavan eight to go along with five rebounds.
On Jan. 11-13, CK welcomes NKEC, Hants North, Eastern Shore, East Antigonish and Breton (BEC) for the annual Gator Basketball Festival.
Action gets underway Jan. 11 at 2 p.m., with the Gators hosting NKEC, followed by East Antigonish and Eastern Shore at 4 p.m. CK and Hants North square off at 6 p.m., with East Antigonish and BEC meeting in the final game of the evening at 8 p.m.
On Jan. 12, the tournament resumes with a pair of 9 a.m. games, with BEC and Eastern Shore meeting in Gym 1 and NKEC taking on Hants North in Gym 2.
The Sobey’s three-point shootout and the Lew Murphy’s Two-Ball competition follows on Jan. 13 at 11 a.m. The fifth-place game is set for 12:30 p.m., the third-place game at 2:30 p.m. and the championship at 4:30 p.m.