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Elkhart Central boys basketball 2012-2013. 11/14/12 sports. Tre Taylor_21_JR. (Truth Photo By Anthony Anderson) (AP)

Elkhart Central boys basketball 2012-2013. 11/14/12 sports. Jaron Walters_13_JR. (Truth Photo By Anthony Anderson) (AP)
Central’s Walters, Taylor net career highs in win over ECA
Posted on Feb. 19, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

ELKHART — JaRon Walters was getting antsy on the bench.

It was the third quarter, and the Blazers were enjoying a double-digit lead over Elkhart Christian, thanks in part to the Central junior opening with a perfect 7 of 7 from the field.

Despite a jammed thumb, cramps and dehydration, Walters wasn’t finished for the night.

“I’m ready,” he told coach Troy Noble. “Put me in.”

Walters subbed in and later nailed a pair of free throws to cap a career-high 18-point performance in Central’s 58-43 win over the Eagles on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

“If every kid was a kid like JaRon Walters, there wouldn’t be any problems coaching,” Noble said. “He is a wonderful individual, an honor roll student. He is the prototype of what we want Elkhart Central basketball to be about. He wanted to get back in the game and when he did get back in the game, he did just as well. He picked up right back where he was before.”

Walters shared the spotlight with teammate Tre Taylor, who also scored a career-high 18 points against ECA. Like Walters, Taylor hit 7 of 9 from the field — including two 3-pointers — to combine for 36 of Central’s 58 points.

Not only did Taylor think Central needed to prove itself as the dominant team, but he was still smarting from last year’s overtime loss to the Eagles.

“This year we weren’t going to settle for anything,” he said. “We couldn’t lose two years in a row.”

Central (6-14) got off to a blazing start, nailing a trio of 3-pointers in the first quarter and securing a 30-15 lead at the half. While ECA (13-6) picked up steam in the second half and matched Central point-for-point, the Eagles could not overcome the first half deficit. Kenny Bearss led ECA with 11 points, while Ryan Kupferschmid touched in 10.

“That was the best defensive team we’ve faced on our schedule all season,” ECA coach Ryan Culp said. “Probably more aggressive than we’ll see the rest of the season. That was good for us. It took us a half to figure out that we could be a little more aggressive.”

Central finished a strong 53.8 percent from the field and outrebounded the Eagles 23-14.

Culp said the loss could be good for ECA, which wraps up its season with a trip to Fort Wayne Canterbury Friday. Sticking with the speedy, aggressive Blazers in the second half could teach the Eagles an important lesson, Culp said.

“Central’s record is very deceiving,” Culp said.” Coach Noble has done a great job with these young men, and they have a losing record that is deceptive because many of their losses have just been by a few points.”

Despite the difference in class size, Noble won’t discount a healthy win over a school like ECA.

“People say, ‘Oh, well a 4A should beat a 1A,’ but Elkhart Christian knows how to win,” Noble said. “They had a good record last year, they have a good record this year. These kids are winners.”

Noble said Central will continue to execute it’s newly implemented OODA system — Observe, Orientate, Decide and (Be) Aggressive — to help pace its offense heading into the state tournament next week.

“It’s slowed the game down for kids in practice and it’s starting to pay dividends, especially, I hope, against a great Warsaw team Tuesday night,” Noble said.

Central 58, Elkhart Christian 43

Central — Genoris Crawford 1-2 4-5 6, Terell Street 3-7 0-2 9, 1-7 0-2 2, JaRon Walters 7-9 4-4 18, Tre Taylor 7-9 2-2 18, Treyton Harris 0-2 0-0 0, Brian Harter 2-2 1-2 5, Shane Mackey 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 21-39 (.538) 11-17 (.647) 58.

Elkhart Christian — Kenny Bearss 2-6 9-10 11, Tanner Watson 2-6 2-2 6, Jack Walters 1-4 0-0 3, Tyler VanArsdale 2-2 0-0 5, Ryan Kupferschmid 4-12 0-0 10, Caleb Stayton 3-3 2-2 8, Austin Buckles 0-0 0-0 0, Michael Craft 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 14-35 (.400) 11-12 (.917) 43.

Scoring By Quarters

Central 13 17 15 13 — 58

Elkhart Christian 4 11 11 17 — 43

3-point goals: Central (5-11) — Street 3, Taylor 2; Elkhart Christian (4-17) — Kupferschmid 2, Walters, VanArsdale.

Rebounds: Central (23) — Crawford 5, Taylor 5; Elkhart Christian (14) — Kupferschmid 4, VanArsdale 4.

Assists: Central (11) — Crawford 7; Elkhart Christian (7) — Bearss 2, VanArsdale 2.

Steals: Central (3) — Taylor 2; Elkhart Christian (5) — Kupferschmid 2.

Turnovers: Central 8, Elkhart Christian 7.

Fouls: Central 16, Elkhart Christian 15.

Records: Central 6-14, Elkhart Christian 13-6.

Next: Elkhart Christian at FW Canterbury Friday; Central vs. Warsaw Tuesday, Feb. 26, in first round of Class 4A Elkhart Sectional at North Side Gym.

JV: Elkhart Christian 55, Central 35. Top scorers: ECA — Alec Dutkowski 14, Drew Overmyer 12, Josh Kelly 12.