Central basketball coach Rick Rogers told his players on Thursday that someone would have to make up the 19 points the Pounders lost by having two starters suspended for Friday’s non-district game at once-beaten Boyd-Buchanan.
Terry Tiller did it by himself.
Tiller, one of two seniors on the Purple Pounders’ roster, scored a career-high 18 points and led Central to a thrilling 52-50 victory over the Bucs before a near-capacity crowd in the Boyd-Buchanan gym.
The Pounders had to withstand a furious Boyd-Buchanan comeback – fueled by Austin Walker’s 12 points – in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.
“That’s Terry’s career-high by 14 points,” Rogers said. “He’s never had more than four points. He’s not a scorer, he’s a defensive player. That’s his role for us. If he scores two points I’m excited. Eighteen points is amazing.”
Central’s Lady Pounders started the two-game sweep with a 46-40 victory in the opener behind Sandrea Sylman’s game-high 24 points.
Rogers was without Tiller’s brother, Tre, the team’s leading scorer and point guard Terron Hayes. Both players skipped classes on the final day of school before the Christmas break. Rogers said they will definitely sit out Central’s next game at East Ridge on Jan. 10 and possibly a home game against Brainerd on Jan. 14.
“I told them somebody is going to have to make up for the lost 19 points we’re missing,” Rogers said. “Terry almost did it by himself. He took his brother’s place. It was a Tiller swap for a Tiller.”
In this one, Terry Tiller made the Pounders forget about the two missing players in a strong effort against the Bucs (12-2), who reached the championship game of the Best of Preps tournament where they lost to Tyner, 56-40, to snap a 12-game winning streak to open the season.
“This was a big win knowing those two starters were out,” he said. “Before the game we knew somebody’s got to step up and take their roles. As a senior, I had to put my foot down and tell everybody what we had to do in this game.”
With Boyd-Buchanan leading 15-10 in the second quarter, Tiller scored eight straight points, but Justus McMillan hit a 3 and Colby Arendale dropped in a turnaround jumper and the Bucs were up 22-16.
The Bucs led 30-23 with 5:47 left in the second period when Tiller scored four points in a six-point run and the Pounders (5-2) trailed by one. Boyd-Buchanan’s Demaris Macon hit a fadeaway jumper to slow the Pounders’ spree.
Central’s Jerome Stewart’s field goal and two free throws by Tiller gave the Pounders a 33-32 halftime advantage – their first lead of the ballgame.
“We came into the game with a positive attitude,” Tiller said. “We had to penetrate and play defense and that’s what we did, especially in the second half.”
The Pounders, who will host the Bucs on Feb. 8, outscored Boyd-Buchanan
Central outscored the Bucs 7-1 to start the fourth quarter and race to its biggest lead of the game at 40-33. Tiller capped that spurt with a field goal at the 5:57 mark.
Hall Allen put up a fast-break layup and Walker drained a 3 from the right-corner – his lone points in the first half came on a 3 to open the game – and the Bucs trailed by 40-38.
“I’ve had bronchitis and (was coughing a lot) went into the locker room in the first quarter and threw up,” Walker said.
Central’s Ryan Montgomery hit a 3, but missed a free throw that would have made it a four-point play.
Walker hit a short bank shot and the Bucs were down 43-40.
Walker hit 1 of 2 free throws. He made two more with 1:36 remaining and the Bucs regained the lead at 44-43.
Jordan Long, a sophomore playing his first game with the Pounders after transferring from East Hamilton, calmly hit three free throws to push Central back into the lead at 46-44 with 69 seconds left.
McMillan hit a free throw, but missed the second. Central’s Jamichael Poole, who hadn’t scored since nailing a first-quarter 3, tossed in two free throws and Central led 48-45 with 39.5 seconds on the clock.
Allen’s bucket trimmed Central’s lead to 48-47 with 23 ticks left.
Long made a three-point play and the Pounders’ margin went to 51-47 with just 15 seconds remaining.
Walker ripped his third 3 of the game from the right corner at the 6.8-second mark.
Stewart’s free throw one second later closed the scoring. Boyd-Buchanan had one last opportunity, but failed to get a shot off.
“We were running out of time in the fourth quarter and had to do something quick,” Walker said. “And we did. But they made a couple shots when they needed to and we made some mistakes when we didn’t need to.”
Stewart finished with 16 points for the Pounders.
“In the first half we were looking for somebody to do something and nobody was doing anything,” Rogers said. “I thought the only thing we could do was to go man in the second half and go at it.
“We started getting deflections and playing our style of basketball. In District 6-AA everybody gets up and down and Boyd-Buchanan plays traditional basketball. We’re not used to that and that’s why we were so ugly in the first half.”
Both teams got off to a slow start, but the Bucs outscored the Pounders, 19-15, in the second quarter to take a 27-21 lead into halftime.
Then Boyd-Buchanan managed just five third-quarter points.
“There were times during the game we had advantages, but didn’t take advantage of them,” Rose said. “We weren’t able to punish them for having them in a position that we like. It was a tough stretch there in the middle for us, but we did better toward the end. We can’t have that attitude of we’ll just do it later. We have to take care of them when we can get them.”
Walker paced the Bucs with 15 points and McMillan added 12.
Central girls 46, Boyd-Buchanan 40: Sylman got off to a quick start with 10 first-quarter points, including two 3s, and had 14 at halftime for the Lady Pounders (8-5). She hit two more 3s in the third quarter and closed he strong effort with two fourth-quarter field goals.
Shamiyah Jones scored 12 points – six coming on two 3s – for Central, which had a 24-15 lead at halftime.
Marisa Motalla led the Lady Bucs with 15 points, Maddie Wright had 11 and Maddi Balthrop added 10.
Central 6 15 12 19 – 52
Boyd-Buchanan 8 19 5 18 – 50
Central (52) – Terry Tiller 18, Montgomery, Billingsley 3, Jerome Stewart 16, Poole 5, Baxter, Lewis 1, Lane, Long 9.
Boyd-Buchanan (50) – Allen 7, Justus McMillan 12, Cox 3, Jenkins 4, Austin Walker 15, Arendale 2, Nason 5, Macon 2.
3-Point Goals: Central 2 (Stewart, Poole); Boyd-Buchanan 6 (Walker 3, McMillan 2, Allen).
Central 12 12 10 12 – 46
Boyd-Buchanan 8 7 16 9 – 40
Central (46) – Shamiyah Jones 12, Rogers 3, Davis, Sandrea Sylman 24, Mitchell 4, Hill 3.
Boyd-Buchanan (40) – Highfield 2, Parker, Adoed 2, Maddie Balthrop 10, High, Marisa Motalla 15, Maddie Wright 11.
3-Point Goals: Central 8 (Sylman 4, S.Jones 2, Rogers, Hill); Boyd-Buchanan none.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org)