The Wildcats attacked the basket on offense and the passing lanes on defense to turn the tide after halftime and sure past the visiting Rockets.
A 22-4 third quarter advantage for La Center decided the Trico League game. It came after the Wildcats (5-4, 4-3) scored only four points in the second quarter, helping Castle Rock (6-2) lead 28-21 at halftime.
“We got a little passive in the second quarter and didn’t attack the basket,” La Center coach Jon Schroeder said.
In the second half, La Center’s assertiveness helped it gain an advantage from the free-throw line. The Wildcats were 17 for 27 from the line on the night, including 9 of 11 down the stretch. The Rockets were only 5 for 6 from the stripe.
Four La Center players scored in double figures, led by 17 points from Wyatt Aguirre. Rebounding was also a factor, according to Schroeder. Jeremiah Arn had 10 rebounds and 10 points for La Center, Matt Braatn had 10 points and eight rebounds, and Aguirre collected six boards.
“Defensively we did what we needed to do and when we got our opportunities to go to the free-throw line we knocked them down,” Schroeder said.
La Center next plays on Dec. 28 at White Salmon.
LA CENTER 62, CASTLE ROCK 52
CASTLE ROCK — Cale Johnson 26, Brock Johnson 12, Rahn Jacob 0, Nate Wilamson 1, Ty Johnson 3, Mason Kingberg 4, Austin Elf 0, Austin Moore 6, Jesse Althauser 0. Totals 20 (7) 5-6 52.
LA CENTER — Wyatt Aguirre 17, Dylan King 9, Connor Wonderly 12, Matt Braaten 10, Jamison Benitez 2, Jonathan Griffee 0, Jeremiah Arn 10, Zach Brown 0, Levi Van Tol 2. Totals 21 (3) 17-27 62.
Castle Rock 14 14 4 20–52
La Center 17 4 22 19–62