Tuesday, Feb. 21 the first round of the Iowa Conference tournament was held in Kuyper gymnasium. Central (18-7, 10-6 conference) was the four seed in the tournament hosting Luther College (16-8, 10-6 conference) who was the five seed.
The two teams split in the regular season, with only a few points separating them each meeting.
Luther College got off to a very quick start with three three-pointers in the first five minutes. The Dutch found themselves behind by nine points 11-2, but fought back all half. The first half ended at a strong hold, 31-31.
A big spark off the bench in the second half for Central was junior guard, Nick Marinkovich. He found the bottom of the net three times from behind the ark in a span of three minutes, with the last bucket giving Central their biggest lead of the night 46-42 at the eight and a half minute mark.
The lead was short lived. Luther took back the lead a minute and a half later and kept it for the rest of the game.Brock Caves, a senior guard, hit a three with 15.5 seconds left to make the score 57-60, Luther. The Norse then made three out of four free throws in the final seconds to close the deal. As the clock ran out Caves hit a half court shot to make the final 60-63, Luther College.
This loss brings Central’s season to an end. The Dutch will graduate four seniors. Brock Caves, Jack Bruns, Chris Lehmann and Demarco Turner will all have to be replaced in the starting lineup next year. These four averaged just under 37 points a game this year which accounts for a little more than half of the team average points per game.
Central was picked to finish in the bottom half of the conference in the Iowa Conference preseason polls. The Dutch put this notion aside and finished fourth. Central finishes the season at 18-8.