NORTON — Down 17 points at the half, the Central Warriors made a valiant comeback effort against visiting district opponent John Battle. Ultimately, the Trojans were victorious 74-63.
“We were not ready to play tonight,” stated Central coach T.J. McAmis. “We were out hustled and outworked in the game. We were also out rebounded. One thing I can say is that I’m proud of the kids and they did not give up.”
The Trojans jumped out to an early 18-13 lead at the end of the first period through the efforts of Cayden McConley, Reed Samuel and Douglas Logan. Conley scored seven of the Trojan’s first period points. The Warriors did stay within striking distance.
The second period saw the Trojans erupt for 24 points, 12 of the points scored by Samuels giving Battle a sizable 42-25 lead at halftime.
Central started the second half by stepping up their defensive pressure. On offense, they kept the ball in the hands of Elijah Hayes, who scored 12 points in the third period and nine more in the fourth.
The Warriors trimmed the Trojan led to 50-41 with three minutes remaining in the third period. They would cut the lead to 60-54 on a two-point basket by Hayes with 5:10 to play in the game. The six-point margin would be the closest the Warriors would come.
When the Warriors were forced to foul, the Trojans made their free throws down the stretch. McConley scored 12 points for the Trojans in the fourth period to extend their winning margin.
McConley led the Trojans in scoring with 26 points followed by Samuel with 18 points. Jamie Preas scored 16 while Issac Deel added 10 points. Dakota Worley and Douglas Logan each scored two points.
Hayes led the Warriors with a game high 29 points, 21 of which came in the second half. Hayes also had six rebounds, three blocks and three steals. Ben Stallard scored nine points with six rebounds. Tyler Vanover also scored nine points. Bryson Collins scored six points, Brody Allison three points and Landon Elkins, Johdon Bishop, and Lance Collie each scored two points. Tre Mullins added one point.
Central will host Ridgeview on Friday in another conference battle.