Update, end 3rd, McGill-Toolen 50, Central 46:
The Yellow Jackets began the third quarter on a 5-0 run to take their biggest lead of the game at 41-30. Marlon Williams hit a short field goal and Rene Scott knocked one down from long-range to make the lead 11.
As it had all game, Central tried to climb the hill and went on a 10-0 run to cut the McGill-Toolen lead to 41-40 with 5:10 left in the quarter. Demarkus Lampley hit a pair of three-pointers during the run to spur the Red Devils.
Central kept within one point for most of the rest of the quarter until the Yellow Jackets closed the quarter with three points to lead 50-46. Central has not led since the 5:30 mark in the first quarter.
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Update, end 2nd, McGill-Toolen 36, Central 30:
Central began to shake off the early-game jitters in the second quarter, hitting three three-pointers in the first two and a half minutes and going on a 13-3 run to tie the game at 24-24. During that period, Tre Todd scored eight points. After failing to score his first two points of the game until there were just 30 seconds left in the first, Todd scored 10 in the next 4:33 to help the Red Devils turn the tide.
Still, more turnovers by Central and offensive rebounds by McGill-Toolen helped the Yellow Jackets carry a 36-30 lead into the half. The Yellow Jackets closed the quarter on a 12-6 run.
Central turned the ball over 11 times, leading to 15 points before the breaking. The Yellow Jackets had just four turnovers, resulting in only two points for the Red Devils.
Todd led all scorers with 10. Demarkus Lampley added six, and Jermond Williams and Markial Benton each added five.
McGill-Toolen was led by eight points by four different players: Paris Chambers, Larry Rembert, Rene Scott and Marlon Williams.
Update, end 1st, McGill-Toolen 21, Central 11:
It wasn’t the start Central was looking for in the Class 7A state championship, committing five turnovers and falling behind by double digits after the first quarter in Birmingham.
After taking its only lead at 5-3 early on, Central allowed the Yellow Jackets to go on an 18-6 run the rest of the period. Central got five points from Markail Benton in the quarter to lead the way.
Tre Todd, Demarkus Lampley and Keiondre Jakes each contributed two points in the quarter.
The Central basketball team is nearly perfect.
With the exception of a last-second loss to Shaw early in the season, the Red Devils’ record is spotless. At 32-1, they have won 30 straight games and every single tournament they have played in this season. Now, there’s only one thing left to accomplish:
A state championship.
Central plays McGill-Toolen at 6:45 ET today in the Class 7A championship game at BJCC Arena in Birmingham, Ala. It is Central’s second state championship appearance in program history. It has never won a state championship.
Central reached the finale with back-to-back overtime games in the past two weeks, defeating Lee-Montgomery 70-61 in the central regional final and, on Thursday, Spain Park 63-61 in the state semifinals.
McGill-Toolen defeated Hoover in the state semifinals.
The two teams have a similar makeup in size and style. Central will be led by Tre Todd and Tionne Williams, among others. McGill-Toolen will be led by Rene Scott and T.J. Howard.
Follow along on Twitter for live updates throughout the game, or check back here for quarterly updates.
Central vs. McGill-Toolen
What: Class 7A state championship
When: 6:45 p.m. ET
Where: BJCC Arena, Birmingham, Ala.
Records: Central, 32-1; McGill-Toolen, 27-6