Central rallies in 2nd half to down Delta at own tourney
The Central High School boys basketball team came out of halftime Friday night with newfound intensity and focus.
After trailing by as many as eight in the first half, the Warriors put together a furious second-half performance to defeat Delta 55-42 at the Warrior Challenge.
Delta scored the first basket of the second half to increase its lead at 25-19, but after that, the third quarter was all Central.
Trey Fair was a dominating force for Central, scoring nine of the Warriors’ first 12 points of the third.
Freshman Kyle Blair, who had 14 points, nailed a 3-pointer to pull the Warriors to within one at 25-24.
Then Fair scored seven straight points — a putback, a short jumper and a three-point play. The Warriors outscored the Panthers 17-4 to end the quarter, including an 11-0 run.
After Tyler Talkington hit a driving layup, Central was cruising with a 33-27 lead.
Giles Woolsey drained a 3-pointer with less than a minute to go in the quarter to give the Warriors a 38-29 lead after three.
The Panthers made a bit of a push to start the fourth when Ryan Whiteside hit a short jumper and Keaton Reiher hit one of his three 3-pointers to cut the lead to 40-35.
The Warriors then went on a 12-2 run, with Blair scoring six points and Fair four to put the game out of reach.
Central head coach Ryan Hayden said it was a good effort by his team.
“We made some adjustments to their zone (defense) after halftime,” he said. “We’re young. Sometimes I look out there and we have two freshmen and two sophomores on the floor. We still have a lot of learning to do.”
Delta’s size gave the Warriors trouble in the first half. Whiteside, who finished with 16 points, scored 12 in the first half.
After taking an 18-10 lead midway through the second on a Whiteside putback, the Warriors jumped back into the game behind 3s from Trey Garcia, Talkington and Blair.
Fair finished with 21 points and Talkington added 10 for the Warriors.
Reiher finished with nine for the Panthers, all from behind the arc.
Central is now 1-1 in the tournament and Delta is 0-2.
Fountain-Fort Carson 75, Fruita Monument 67: A steady stream of shooters to the free-throw line was the difference in Fountain-Fort Carson’s victory.
The Trojans used 16 made free throws in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Wildcats. The Trojans shot 29 of 34 from the line, with all but three coming in the second half.
The aggressive inside play of the Trojans and their length gave the shorter Fruita Monument team trouble. Jordan Rhodes, a 6-foot-5 junior, led all scorers with 25 points, and 6-3 senior Kris Robinson added another 21.
The Wildcats played tough and forged a 51-51 tie after three, which led to a back-and-forth battle that included nine lead changes in the final eight minutes.
Matt Story took a long pass from Devin Winstanley for a bucket, then Story hit two free throws to give the Wildcats a 58-55 lead early in the fourth.
Fruita pushed the lead to five when Story scored off an assist from Dylan Row.
But the Trojans kept pounding the ball inside with passes and drives.
The nearly flawless shooting from the free-throw line proved to be the difference.
Fruita Monument only went to the line 11 times, making eight shots.
Michaud Williams finished with 15 points for Fountain-Fort Carson and hit all 10 of his free throws, including eight in the fourth.
Still the Wildcats hung tough. A putback by Story and a layup by Row, who made three 3-pointers in the game, gave the Wildcats the lead at 66-65 with 1:40 remaining.
But the Trojans went on a 10-1 run to end the game. Rhodes had four points down the stretch, which included an emphatic dunk with less than 15 seconds remaining.
Row led the Wildcats with 17 points, Story added 14 and Winstanley 11.
Both teams are 1-1 in the tournament.
Lewis Palmer 52, Palisade 44: After taking a halftime lead, a lackluster third quarter and what coach Brian Tafel called a “lack of execution” sank the Bulldogs.
Leading 25-21 at the start of the third quarter, Palisade was outscored by the Rangers 31-19 in the second half.
The Bulldogs (1-1) did manage a small run in the third quarter, benefitting from 3-pointer and another deep jumper from Jacob Bollinger on back-to-back plays. Lewis Palmer (2-1) iced the game with free throws in the fourth quarter.
“We have to get better at some tactical things,” Tafel said. “Especially in transition. I felt like we were picking up things too high and giving up easy scores and that ended up doing us in.”
Daniel Ness, Skyler Miller and Bollinger each scored nine points to lead the Bulldogs.
Palisade will play Legacy (2-1) in it’s final game of the tournament today at 10 a.m.
— Sports writer Matt Meyer contributed to this story