Now in his second year as the Centralia varsity boys basketball head coach, Scott Humphries has his team playing at a much higher level than he did a season ago.

Montgomery County varsity boys first-year basketball head coach Scott Kroeger is in a similar position in that he's also young and new, but the club he inherited from Ron Lebel has allowed him to find success since the beginning.

So, when these two clubs went head-to-head on Tuesday in non-conference competition at the Wildcats, it was no surprise that sparks flew in a contest that came down to the very end. What wasn't expected was that Aubrey Nelson would have 20 points or that Tim Hall would rack up 14 points in his first game back since the early December to help Montgomery County edge out a 67-64 win over the Panthers. Chris Harrison also posted 13 points and over 10 rebounds and Corey Kroll added 10 points.

"Man defense made the difference. We made it difficult for them to score in the second half for the most part, until late," said Kroeger. "We had a couple of different chances to pull away but they battled and hung around. There was a great energy level from both teams for the whole game. Centralia will be a tough team for the next couple of years."

Centralia, 6-5 overall, is at New Bloomfield on Friday.

Montgomery County, 8-1 overall, 2-0 Eastern Missouri Conference, has a league game at North Callaway on Friday.