If Tyner coach Gerald Harris was worried about a letdown after the season's biggest win, he needn't have bothered. Tuesday night, the Rams were ready to take up where they left off.
Senior Night had a spectacular finish for the Central Purple Pounders; it just wasn't a winning one. The Pounders, who count four four-year starters among the 12th graders honored on Senior Night, stumbled right out of the gate and were unable to overcome a key injury to leading scorer David Holley in falling 57-51.
The win was the 10th
of the season for the Rams and followed up on their Saturday afternoon defeat of Brainerd in the heated 6-AAA district chase.
“You always worry about a letdown,” said Harris, “but all week we were talking defense, defense, defense. But we got them down in the second half and let up a little. I think we thought they'd give up, but they worked hard at cutting our lead down.”
Among the Pounders' veterans, Harris had his defense focus on Dewaun Swafford and Colton Morgan, and keeping them from getting off to a fast start. That plan was a total success, as Central managed only four points in the first quarter.
Offensively, playmaker Sadik Spence was in top form Tuesday, finding the open man and still getting his share. Tyner's stat man listed Spence with 14 points (eight in the fourth quarter), five assists and five steals. But one Central staffer told coach Rick Rogers that he had Spence with a dozen steals I in the game.
“I know I saw at least five or six one-on-one in the open court,” Rogers said. “I can easily believe 12 steals.”
But Central's offense was already crippled. Senior David Holley, coming off back-to-back 30-point games, suffered a back muscle injury in their meeting with Hixson and was unable to play defense. His few moments of action left him scoreless.
Spence led the Rams, but Bristen Bridgemann added 11 points and seven rebounds, while Alex Watkins just missed a double-double with eight points and nine boards.
Swafford ultimately gave the large home crowd a thrill by sinking a shot from beyond half court before the final buzzer. The third such buzzer-beater for the Central senior this year, it only succeeded in cutting the final margin to a respectable six points.
“He can't hit anything standing still,” said Rogers, whose team had won nine of its previous 10 games. “But when he gets his rhythm and he's on the move, he can hit from anywhere.
CENTRAL GIRLS 34 TYNER 32 With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Central girls (8-9) doubled their win total from the previous year thanks to a come-from-behind 34-32 win over Tyner.
The Lady Rams were four up at the half, but were held scoreless in the third quarter while Central scored nine points. But the Rams rallied to retake the lead. But after the Purple Pounders tied the contest, they moved ahead on a free throw by Madison Rogers with under a minute to play. The final margin came on a Sandrea Sylmon free throw with 2.9 seconds to play.
Sylman led the Lady Pounders with 12 points, while Indian Corley added 10. Central hit only 7 of 19 foul shots and Tyner kept close by hitting 7 of 9.
GIRLS SCORING SUMMARY
Tyner 9 10 0 13 – 32
Central 4 11 9 10 – 34
TYNER (32) – Turner 2, Montgomery 7, Smith 8, Hines 4, Parks 9, Hudgins, McElvain 2.
CENTRAL (34) – Jones 3, McReynolds 2, Rogers 3, Powell, Sandrea Sylman 12, India Corley 10, Mitchell 4.
3-point goals: Tyner 1 (Montgomery); Central 1(Jones). Records: Central 8-9, 5-4 in 6-AAA.
BOYS SCORING SUMMARY
Tyner 13 15 13 16 – 57
Central 4 13 13 21 – 51
TYNER (57) – Sadik Spence 14, Bowman 7, Watson, Bristen Bridgemann 11, Watkins 8, Jones 2, L. Rollins 5, D. Rollins, Harwick 8, Waller 2.
CENTRAL (51) – Dewaun Swafford 24, Cobb 4, Hill, Trammell, Hayes 3, Montgomery 3, Morgan 9, Stewart 6, Smith 2, Holley.
3-point goals: Tyner 2 (Spence, Bowman); Central 4 (Swafford 2, Hayes, Morgan). Records: Tyner 10-6, 5-4; Central 12-5, 5-4.