Central boys, girls sweep Eagle Valley
The Central High School boys basketball team finished what it started.
Tuesday at Central, the Warriors held off a late charge from Eagle Valley for a 49-38 win.
“It was a much-needed win,” Central coach Phil Cain said. “The guys have been working hard and showed improvement, so it’s nice to get over the hump.” The Warriors’ 12-point, first-half lead had shrunk to 41-38 with 1:23 remaining in the game.
Eagle Valley applied a full-court press against Central, but the Warriors (2-15, 0-5 Southwestern League) found gaps that led to easy baskets from Scott Brennan and Zach Padilla to push the lead back to 46-39.
Brennan and Padilla iced the game with free throws in the final seconds.
“It was a nice way to finish the game,” Cain said. “We really shared the ball well, whether it was fast break lay-ups or half-court offense.”
The Warriors didn’t settle for jumpers, attacking the Devils’ 2-3 defensive zone.
Taylor Sanchez led the attack, scoring nine of the Warriors’ first 11 points to help give Central an 11-7 lead after the first quarter.
“I was trying to get to the rim early,” Sanchez said. “I know when I drive, we do a lot better.”
Sanchez pushed the Warriors’ lead to 21-9 midway through the second quarter on another drive to the basket.
“(Taylor) carried us early on,” Cain said. “He was a big part of our offense and had some nice distributions throughout the game.”
Sanchez finished with 13 points and four assists.
The Warriors cooled off in the second quarter, allowing Eagle Valley to cut the deficit to 26-20 by halftime.
“We got sloppy on offense,” Cain said. “We had a 10-point lead, but a few turnovers changed the momentum and gave them something going into halftime.”
The two teams played a tight third quarter before Central outscored Eagle Valley 12-6 in the fourth quarter.
“We knew we had to finish,” Sanchez said. “We only have five games left, and we have to get better.”
Padilla added 15 points and Tim Wells led the Devils with 11 points.
Central willed itself to a 43-36 victory over Eagle Valley.
After giving up two quick baskets after halftime, the Warriors went on a 14-0 run to end the third quarter.
Central turned a 25-21 deficit into a 35-25 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“It shows maturity on our part,” Central coach Todd Dixon said. “This late in the season, with one win, it would have been really easy for them to say ‘here we go again.’ “
Instead of folding, Central (2-15, 0-5 SWL) held onto its lead in the fourth quarter.
“We saw some growth, and the good thing was it ended in a win,” Dixon said. “Teamwork was the difference.”
Brittany Hoppe led Central with 13 points, but also created a lot of opportunities for teammates in the second half.
“Brittany did a good job of attacking the basket,” Dixon said. “We told her to penetrate and look for teammates and she had some really nice passes.” Amanda Chaffin added 12 points for the Warriors.