Thomasville Times Enterprise

Local Sports

January 7, 2014

TCC falls to Cairo in heartbreaker

THOMASVILLE — Another game, another heartbreaking loss for the Thomas County Central boys basketball team.

Four days after falling to rival Thomasville following a pair of missed opportunities in the closing seconds, the Yellow Jackets experienced a case of deja vu Tuesday against rival Cairo. Two turnovers and a blocked shot in the final 45 seconds cost the Jackets a 47-46 loss.

“It’s kind of hard to explain right now,” Central coach Chad Ward said. “The kids fight hard, and it’s tough to explain.”

The Jackets led 46-43 after Matt Priest made a free throw with 1:19 left but the Syrupmakers answered as Cole Bennett scored just 11 seconds later to pull Cairo within one. Passing the ball around the perimeter against heavy Cairo pressure, the Jackets turned it over as Stacy Masten picked off an errant pass and went the length of the court for a layup with 39 seconds left to put Cairo back on top.

After almost turning it back over in the corner on the ensuing possession, the Jackets got a shot when Malik Brown caught a pass near the top of the  lane. But Masten got a hand on it and Demetrica Draggs hauled in the rebound with four seconds left before getting fouled.

Following a pair of missed free throws, Central had one last chance with 1.4 seconds left. However, a lob pass for Chris Jones glanced off the backboard and Masten, who paced Cairo with 11 points, came up with the  loose ball to end it.

“The kids they keep fighting and they’re executing,” Ward added. “They’re doing everything they should be doing.

“It’s just tough to explain right now.”

The Jackets got the lead midway through the fourth quarter after trailing 21-11 at halftime. Cairo scored the final 12 points of the first half to open up that lead as the Jackets didn’t score in the final 5:14 of the second quarter. However, after trading punches in the third, Central started a rally in the fourth as Malcolm McClenton, Joe Adams and Malik Brown scored on consecutive possessions to close within two. After a Deondre Cooksey basket, Brown hit a pair of free throws to put Central on top for the first time since the first half.

Chris Jones led Central with 12 points, all coming in the second half, while Austin Bryant added nine — including a pair of dunks — and 11 rebounds.

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