Central coach Bobby Wright said he nor his team made much mention of it heading into the Shaw Christmas Tournament.
Win No. 500, he said, was no more important than win Nos. 499 or 501. Try telling that to the crowd of well wishers who showed up en masse for his game against Jordan in the second round of the tournament on Friday.
The Red Devils notched a runaway 90-56 win over the Red Jackets, clinching the milestone for Wright and setting off an on-court celebration following the victory.
“Man, I’ll tell you what, this is huge to me,” Wright said of the support he got from fans, parents and colleagues. One of the first to shake his hand after the victory was the school’s football coach, Woodrow Lowe. “Fans have been loyal to me throughout the years. They’ve been loyal to our program. It’s just very humbling.”
The game itself was a no-doubter. Central scored the first seven points of the game and the first 13 of the second half. The latter turned a commanding but surmountable 39-27 lead into 52-27 in a matter of minutes.
The Red Devils got 27 points from Devin Pugh, 12 from Anthony Moore, 11 from Tavare Igus and 10 from Mark Rodgers to lead the way.
With the win, the Red Devils advance to the semifinals of the tournament, where they will face Northside at 8 p.m. Monday at Carver.
Wright praised the help he’s gotten from players and coaches over the year to help make 500 a reality.
“I’ve had some good kids to coach and some good coaches to coach with,” he said. “All that helps. It makes you want to stay in a program like this.”
Jordan was led by Cameron Smith’s 24 points and L.D. Jones’ 19 in the losing effort. It falls to the consolation bracket, where it will face Shaw at 4 p.m. Saturday at Carver.
Northside 63, Carver 60
After Northside’s game against Carver in the second round of the Shaw Christmas Tournament, Patriots coach Kenneth Lawrence lamented his team’s slow starts over the past couple of games.
“The last few games, we’ve played terrible in the first half,” he said.
And yet, it continues to win.
Northside battled back from a 14-point deficit in the first half to claim a 63-60 win over Carver to advance to the third round of the Shaw tournament. It will face Central, which defeated Jordan, at 8 p.m. Monday at Carver.
It appeared early that Carver was going to take control of the game and not look back. It led 48-34 late in the first half before a 9-0 run got Northside within five points going into the break. After halftime, the Patriots continued to chip away, using strong interior defense to fuel fast breaks.
One of those fast breaks resulted in a hard dunk by sophomore Davion Thomas to cut Carver’s lead to one point with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Moments later, Northside took its first lead of the game, 58-57, with one minute, 30 seconds remaining when Matt Richardson laid one in. Richardson finished with a game-high 17 points.
“We start slow every game in the first half,” Lawrence said. “We have some young guys. A lot of talent, but not a lot of experience, so we’re just trying to improve there.”
Northside also got 15 points from Phillip Whittington, 12 from Jelani McGlan and 11 from Caleb Baker.
Carver got a good look at a three-pointer as time expired, which would have tied the game at 63. Jawon Pass’ jumper rattled out, however, and Northside hung on for the win. Pass finished with 16 points to lead the Tigers.
Dominique Johnson also finished in double figures for Carver, notching 13 points.
Carver will face Brookstone in a consolation game on Saturday.
Harris County 81, Brookstone 73
Harris County picked up another victory, this one over 3-seed Brookstone. The Tigers got a team-high 22 points from Deion Whitaker, 13 from Brandon Carter and 10 from Tae Crowder to pace the offense.
With the win, it advances to the third round of the tournament, where it will face Spencer on Monday.
Brookstone was led by Fred Davis’ 25 points, Johnathan Gordon’s 18 and Leye Olubowale’s 18 in the losing effort. The Cougars will face Carver in a consolation game on Saturday.
Spencer 62, Shaw 53
Led by Deandre Hubbard and Keanis Bush, the Greenwave picked up a 62-53 win over Shaw in the second round of the Shaw tournament. With the win, Spencer advances to the third round, where it will face Harris County at 4 p.m. Monday at Carver.
Hubbard notched 24 points in the game, while Bush tallied 18. Tarvaraska Davis added 12 to the effort.
Shaw was led by Dakeen Diaz (14 points) and Kentrell Parker (13 points) in the loss. The Raiders fall to the consolation bracket, where they will face Jordan at 4 p.m. Saturday at Carver.
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Friday at Jordan
Jordan 9 18 16 13—56
Central 18 24 27 21—90
Cameron Smith 24, L.D. Jones 19, Harrison 9, Hill 2, Crouch 2.
Devin Pugh 27, Anthony Moore 12, Tavare Igus 11, Mark Rodgers 10, Todd 7, Lewis 7, Williams 6, Lampley 4, Jones 2, Ward 2, Smith 2.
Next: Jordan, Saturday vs. Shaw; Central, Monday vs. Northside.
Friday at Carver
Northside 13 13 17 20—63
Carver 15 17 16 12—60
Matt Richardson 17, Phillip Whittington 15, Jelani McGlan 12, Caleb Baker 11, Thomas 4, Scott 2, Hopkins 2.
Jawon Pass 16, Dominique Johnson 13, Woods 7, Jones 6, Freeman 6, Harris 5, Moore 4, Madden 3.
Next: Northside, Monday vs. Central; Carver, Saturday vs. Brookstone.
Friday at Jordan
Brookstone 12 16 18 27—73
Harris County 21 21 16 23—81
Fred Davies 25, Johnathan Gordon 18, Leye Olubowale 18, Wolff 5, Page 4, McCluskey 3.
Harris County (81)
Deion Whitaker 22, Brandon Carter 13, Tae Crowder 10, Harris 10, Northern 8, Scott 6, Hassell 6, Holloway 2, Terrell 2, Williams 2.
Next: Brookstone, Saturday vs. Carver; Harris County, Monday vs. Spencer.
Friday at Carver
Shaw 19 6 12 16—53
Spencer 14 16 17 15—62
Dakeen Diaz 14, Kentrell Parker 13, Edwards 9, Walker 8, Jackson 5, Thomas 3, Shakespeare 2.
Deandre Hubbard 24, Keanis Bush 18, Tarvaraska Davis 12, Kimani Bush 5, Miller 3.
Next: Shaw, Saturday vs. Jordan; Spencer, Monday vs. Harris County