The Lady Bulldogs used a dominating first half in putting their game away early before the Bulldogs took control in the fourth quarter as Central swept the Pineywoods Community Academy Timberwolves in District 21-3A basketball action at AC’s Shands Gym on Tuesday night.
On the girls side, Central used a 23-1 first-half run to put away any suspense in a 58-28 victory. Meanwhile the Bulldogs waited until late as they overcame a 7-point deficit with a 21-4 spurt that paved the way to a 56-49 win.
The Lady Bulldogs set the tone from the opening minutes of the game. After the teams traded free throws, the Lady Bulldogs used a tough defense that turned into multiple layups in a run that gave them a 25-3 lead just two minutes into the second quarter.
Kaycie Jo Brown led Central with 14 points as the only Lady Bulldog to reach double figures. However, every Lady Bulldog got in the scoring column with Alexis Lofton and Presley Slatter scoring 9 points each.
Zoey Kelley did her part for PCA with a game-high 17 points.
After the game was tied at 2-2, Central got going with back-to-back layups from Sabrina Weathers sparking the huge run. Presley Slatter and Allison Shaver knocked down 4 straight free throws for a 10-2 lead.
PCA’s Ireland Harrell momentarily slowed the momentum with a free throw before Lofton knocked down a 3. K.K. Harris followed with a layup and a 3-pointer that were sandwiched around a Preslie Turney free throw that put the Lady Bulldogs on top 19-3 after the first quarter.
The lead ballooned to 22 with Slatter hitting back-to-back layups before Kaycie Jo Brown scored a basket to make it 25-3.
PCA finished the quarter with a 10-6 spurt as Kelley scored 6 of those points and Trenity Johnson had the other 4, narrowing the gap to 31-13 at halftime.
Central’s lead hovered around 20 points for most of the third quarter before Kelley knocked down a 3 that made it 43-22 headed into the final eight minutes.
Central’s Lofton answered by knocking down a 3 that led to 8 straight points and a 51-22 margin that was never threatened.
Other Central scorers were Brenom Brown (7), Harris (5), Shaver, Weathers and Turney (4) and Madison Morehouse (2).
Other PCA scorers were Johnson (6), Harrell (3) and Mercedes Winn and Kristiana Deckard (1).
Following that matchup, the boys put on a show in a game that wasn’t decided until the final minute.
PCA’s Houston Wall was nearly unstoppable with 24 points. Central answered with Hunter Boyett’s rugged play in the paint leading the Bulldogs with 19 points, including 13 in the second half when the Bulldogs finally took control.
For much of the night, it looked like PCA would find a way to win.
An early 6-0 run sparked by a pair of baskets from Shayne Wilkins before a layup from Wall gave the Wolves a 17-11 lead early in the second quarter.
Central answereed with a 10-2 run with Christian Castillo’s layup giving the Bulldogs their only lead of the first half at 21-19.
PCA responded with an 11-3 run sparked by back-to-back triples from Wall before Jordan Morrison got a basket on the inside and DeCoveon Johnson tipped in a miss, putting the Timberwolves up 30-24 at half.
That lead grew to 9 when Dylan Cloyd banked in a 3 to start the second half.
PCA eventually led 40-33 in the final two minutes of the third quarter when David May put back a miss.
However, it was all Central from there in the game-deciding run. Brody Shumaker started the run with a pair of free throws and Boyett’s layup dropped the margin to 40-37 after three quarters.
Dylan Cloonan, who was held scoreless for the first three quarters, hit his stride at the right time as his 3 tied it up at 40-40. He eventually scored 9 in the final quarter.
Blake Harris’ basket gave PCA its final lead at 42-40 before Boyett scored 6 straight points, all on baskets in the paint.
Morrison momentarily halted the momentum with a layup before Boyett hit a free throw and Cloonan hit four straight free throws after PCA technical fouls. The lead went to 54-47 on Ben Shelfo’s free throw with 2:28 left.
PCA had one last burst with Wall knocking down a 3 and hitting a layup that made it 54-49 with 1:17 remaining, but the Wolves could get no closer.
Other Central scorers were Shelfo (8), Shumaker (7), Braiden Bell (6), Caleb Hudnall (3) and Colby Lamon and Castillo (2).
Other PCA scorers were Johnson and Morrison (6), Cloyd (3) and May and Harris (2).
Central will play at Newton on Friday night, while Pineywoods Community Academy will host Corrigan-Camden for homecoming.