Thomasville Times Enterprise

Local Sports

February 10, 2014

Central hoops eye region play-in

THOMASVILLE —

­It’s do or die for both Thomas County Central basketball teams.
 
The boys and girls host region play-in games against Hardaway for a shot to play in the 1-AAAAA Tournament later this week at Bainbridge.
 
The boys enter today’s 7:30 p.m. contest on a four-game winning streak capped by last Tuesday’s thrilling 68-65 overtime win over Bainbridge. Yellow Jackets coach Chad Ward said he’s ingrained mental motivation to keep the team hot at the most important time of the year.
 
“The guys are now seeing that we can win the close games that we lost early in the year,” said Ward, whose squad started the season 5-15. “Everybody is on the same page now. That winning streak is huge going into regionals.”
 
The Yellow Jackets had two tastes of Hardaway this year and split contests in favor of the home team. The most recent meeting was on Jan. 31, when Central ousted the Hawks 48-35 in a game dominated by defense. 
 
Ward expects a comparable outset tomorrow and has catered his gameplan accordingly. He said the Yellow Jackets will primarily aim to earn points in the post; quite contrary to the arsenal of outside shots his squad made last Tuesday, including 11 three-pointers. 
 
“Our focus this game is to pound the ball inside, but if they clog the middle, we’ll get it out and hopefully our shooters can make some great shots like they did last week,” he said. 
 
Central’s boys were in a near identical scenario last year needing to win the play-in on the road at Lee County.
 
“Our guys responded to the call. It’s no different this time around,” Ward said.
 
The Yellow Jackets went on to finish third in the region before bowing in the first round of the state playoffs to Starr’s Mill.

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