By Mark Clark
Even though his Central High Red Devils failed in matching the margin of victory in their first win over Smiths Station – a 77-33 rout on Jan. 4 – they did manage to win last Friday night to improve to 3-0 in area play. And, with the win, the Red Devils will be playing for the area title this Friday night in Auburn.
With a win over Auburn, the Red Devils will win the title outright with a perfect area record of 4-0. Central is undefeated in the area and will earn the title if it can defeat Auburn tomorrow night in Auburn. A loss will cause the title to be locked between the two schools and a coin-flip would decide which team is placed in the area championship. The loser will play Smiths Station with the winner advancing to the area championship game. The winner of the area championship game will advance to the South Central Regional as the No. 1 seed from the area. The loser will be the No. 2 seed in the regional from the area.
“We did not play very well tonight. I’m frustrated with the way we played. We did not have good ball play. But, it was a good win for us. It was an important win,” Central coach Bobby Wright said.
Wright did not make excuses for his squad. In fact, he felt his team should be playing much better at this point in the season.
“At this point in the season, I cannot use youth as an excuse for the way the team is playing. After all the games we have played, we should be playing better as a team,” Wright said.
Central went 2-1 last week, beating Smiths Station and Northview, but losing to Sidney Lanier for a second time this season.
In the loss to Sidney Lanier, the Poets took a five-point lead in the first quarter 16-11. At halftime, Sidney Lanier was up 25-18. After three quarters, the Poets led 37-34. Sidney Lanier won the final quarter 7-7 and won 54-41.
Tremere Brown led Central’s scorers with 15 points. Tremaine Porter and Radarius Hinnant both had six points for Central. Devonte Mathews scored five points.
Central rolled out to a 7-0 lead over Smiths Station in the first 1:55 of its game with the Panthers last Friday night and led 20-10 when the quarter ended. Smiths Station cut the margin to five points by the end of the half, 34-29. At the end of the third quarter, Central led 48-40. Central pulled ahead by 12 points, 53-41, with 2:31 left to play in the game and eventually won 55-43.
Porter scored 26 points to lead the Red Devils. Brown scored 16 points and Lawrence Biggs had 10 points. Tyran Jones led Smiths Station with 14 points while Keaudre Cooper and Jalin Thomas both scored 12 points for the Panthers.
Central defeated Northview 63-42 to close out the week.
The Red Devils played in the Martin Luther King Invitational this past Monday and against Hardaway High this past Tuesday after Citizen Press time. Central plays on the road tomorrow night at Auburn High. Central closes out the season with home games against Eufaula and Spencer next week.