The Central Red Devils had a scouting report on Dothan — stop post players Khiry Thomas and Stephen Trawick and you’ll have a pretty good handle on the Tigers.
But what Central coach Bobby Wright didn’t expect was for his team to face both at the same time.
“We had a scheme and the film we’d gotten on the guys had them playing them one at a time,” Wright said Friday night. “Tonight they played them together and we got out of what we wanted to do.”
Area 5 runner-up Dothan flipped the script on Central, but it worked for only a half.
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Central made the needed adjustments to take control of the game in the second half on its way to a 62-50 Class 6A sub-regional victory over the Tigers. Central will play at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the South Regional at Troy University.
The Red Devils limited Trawick and Thomas to 29 combined points, most in the first half before Central could adjust its scheme.
The Red Devils countered with balanced scoring from their lineup, led by Antonio King Jr.’s 14 points, to punch their ticket for Troy where the Area 7 champions will play Daphne.
“I feel good about going to the regional,” said Central forward Joseph Thompson, who battled the larger Tigers inside for 13 points. “It’s been awhile since a team from here had been there.”
Darren Daniel and Marquez Lewis had 10 points apiece as the Central improved to 22-4.
Dothan relied on the inside power from its two 6-6 post players to keep the game close during the first half.
Thompson battled for nine points in the first 16 minutes, but Central got key shooting from King and Lewis from the outside to stay ahead.
Central led 14-9 at the end of the first quarter.
The Red Devils rarely had real breathing room. Central’s largest lead was 13 points at 41-28 with less than three minutes left in the third quarter.
But the Tigers got key baskets from guards Barnard McGhee and Greg Marsh to stay close.
A steal and a layup by Lewis with 1:16 left iced the game for Central at 58-47. Wright pulled his starters in the final minute, holding a 12-point lead.
The Central coach felt he may have played his starters too long during some stretches, which may have contributed to Dothan’s runs that kept the Tigers in the game.
“It was a big ball game and I might have gotten caught up in it and I forgot and left them in a little longer than I should,” Wright said.
But he was happy to see the balanced scoring return to the lineup, with the outside shooting from King and Lewis helping open things up for Thompson, Sean Finney and Daniel.
“That’s the way its been most of the season,” Wright said. “Game to game I can’t tell who’s going to be the leading scorer. I was glad to see that again.”
Friday at Central
Dothan 9 14 12 15—50
Central 14 13 16 17—62
McGhee 2, Capehart 4, Greg Marsh 10, Lewis 5, Khiry Thomas 14, Stephen Trawick 15
Darren Daniel 10, Antonio King 14, Sean Finney 12, Marquez Lewis 10, Smith 2, Chambers 1, Joseph Thompson 13
Team records: Central 22-4, Dothan NA Next: Central vs. Daphne-Foley winner at the 6A South Regional at Troy University.