Red Bank basketball coach Corey Lazenby was asked about his basketball team and what he was expecting in their game at Central on Friday night.
"It all depends on which team shows up," he responded before the opening tip.
Lazenby had reason for concern following his team's 31-point loss to Soddy Daisy in a non-district game on Thursday night, but he was smiling from ear to ear after his Lions played one of their best games of the season that resulted in a 68-54 romp over the host Purple Pounders.
It's been a roller-coaster season for both of these teams as they're looking for leaders to step up in tough situations.
But in the first district game for the Lions, it was sophomore Kobe Suttles who stepped up and took charge as he was one of three Red Bank players in double figures as he led the victory parade with 25 points, including 17 in the first half when his team separated themselves from the hosts and never looked back.
Central had a 13-12 lead when the first quarter ended, but the Lions got back-to-back 3s from Suttles and a free throw from Will Davis in the first three minutes of the second stanza as that one-point deficit turned into a six-point lead.
Davis canned a 3 from the corner midway through the second period to extend Red Bank's lead to 22-15 before Central came back with five straight points from Ryan Montgomery.
Montgomery added a 3 about a minute later, but the Lions finished the half on an 11-3 run for a 10-point halftime lead and Central never recovered.
An 8-0 run by the Lions early in the second half gave them a 45-27 edge and the Purple Pounders spent the rest of the evening trying to get back in it, but that 18-point lead was simply too much.
Central cut it to 11 at 53-42 following a layup by Montgomery to start the final quarter, but the Lions were able to withstand pressure defense in the final stretch to win their first district game.
"We looked good," Lazenby said after exiting a jubilant Red Bank dressing room.
"We played pretty solid defense and kept them out of the paint, but this is a big win for us and we need to build from it. We just have to keep sharing the ball and crashing the boards. And if we keep playing together, we do just fine.
"I don't feel like we're playing up to our potential yet, but everybody dug in and did their part after a humbling loss to Soddy Daisy last night. We knew it was a big district game and we needed a win like this going into Tuesday's game at Brainerd," Lazenby added.
Central coach Rick Rogers was as upset by the play of his team as Lazenby was happy.
"Red Bank hustled and we didn't and that's why we lost this basketball game," the veteran coach said after a heated discussion with his team following their second loss of the season.
"I can't remember ever having a team that didn't play hard for me, but this one didn't for one reason or another. They had at least 30 points on layups where we simply didn't get back down the floor on defense.
"We lost a bunch of seniors from last year's team and we really don't have a go-to guy, but we didn't play hard tonight as we took Red Bank lightly. But they played their hearts out and deserved to win. All I know is that it was a disgusting game to watch and I'm sorry I had to see it," Rogers concluded.
Suttles had 25 points to lead both teams while teammates Malik Davis and Will Davis followed with 17 and 14 points, respectively, for the Lions.
Montgomery finished with 17 points to lead Central while Jerome Stewart came off the bench to add 10. Tre Tiller, who came into the game averaging just over 15 points per game, was limited to just eight against the Lions.
Both teams return to action on Tuesday with Red Bank going to Brainerd and Central staying home to host Hixson.
Central, now 2-2 overall and 1-2 in 6-AA, had a 35-34 edge in rebounding as Brian Billingsley led the way with eight. Brandon Lewis and Montgomery both finished with five.
Red Bank, now 4-5 overall and 1-0 in 6-AA, got 10 rebounds from Malik Davis and Johnny Goodman while Traydell Autry was next with eight.
CENTRAL GIRLS 45, RED BANK 26: It took a 13-0 run starting the second half to spark the Lady Pounders as they overcame a frigid shooting performance in the first half to post the 19-point victory.
Red Bank had a 17-15 lead at the half, but Central outscored the Lionettes by 30-9 in the final two quarters to win going away.
Sandrea Sylman had 16 points for the Lady Pounders while Madison Rogers followed with 12.
Autumn Babb and Ashley Brown both scored eight points for Red Bank.
RED BANK 7 10 5 4 -- 26
CENTRAL 5 10 14 16 -- 45
RED BANK (26) -- Babb 8, Brown 8, Jackson, Usher 6, Hughes 4, Maddox.
CENTRAL (45) -- Jones 4, Rogers 12, Davis 2, Sylman 16, Mitchell 6, Hill 5.
3-POINT GOALS: Red Bank 4 (Babb 2, Brown 2); Central 6 (Jones, Rogers 4, Hill).
RED BANK 12 21 20 15 -- 68
CENTRAL 13 10 17 14 -- 54
RED BANK (68) -- Suttles 25, Beavers 4, M. Davis 17, W. Davis 14, Pittman, Autry 2, Goodman 6.
CENTRAL (54) -- Montgomery 17, Tre Tiller 8, Billingsley 2, Hayes 4, Terry Tiller 2, Stewart 10, Benford 3, Swafford 2, Coleman 4, Lewis 2.
3-POINT GOALS: Red Bank 4 (Suttles 3, W. Davis); Central 5 (Montgomery 3, Tre Tiller 2).
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)