Brainerd Boys Eliminate Central In 6-AA Quarters

Panthers Play At Top-Seeded Tyner On Saturday After Defeating Purple Pounders

Thursday, February 18, 2021 - by John Hunt
Brainerd's Donivon Thomas throws down a dunk in the second half in their quarterfinal win over Central.
Brainerd's Donivon Thomas throws down a dunk in the second half in their quarterfinal win over Central.
- photo by Greg Davick

The Brainerd and Central boys basketball teams split with each other this season as both won on the road, but Brainerd won the one that counted most at Brainerd Thursday night.

Facing each other in the quarterfinal round of the District 6-AA tournament, it was elimination night as the winner advanced to the region and is guaranteed at least three more games while the season ended for the team that lost.

Central had beaten Brainerd in the Jackson-High Gymnasium by a 53-43 final just last Tuesday, but the Purple Pounders couldn’t make it two in a row as Brainerd got off to a fast start and never let up, improving to 9-6 overall with the 63-50 victory.

Central concludes its season at 8-12.

There were several areas that Brainerd coach Levar Brown was happy about, but none any more so than the defensive pressure of his big men and an improvement in free throw shooting. 

The Panthers had an unofficial 27-24 edge on the boards while sinking 14 of 22 from the charity stripe.

“My kids played hard for the entire 32 minutes and I’m pleased with their effort, but I thought the presence of our big men was a key factor in our winning.  Donivon Thomas and Deuante Crawford controlled the glass and protected the paint, which allowed our guards to apply pressure on the outside,” Brown said shortly after the game ended.

“It was also nice that we could hold a consistent lead for most of the game and we shot a lot better from the free-throw line than we’ve been doing.  The big news is that we advance to the region will play at least three more games.  Going to the region has become expected at this school,” he added.

Central coach Kantonio Davis felt like his kids might not have been as ready to play as they needed to be.

“We were never into the game mentally.  We won over here last week, but things were different tonight.  I hate that we have to go out like this as our team really grew this season.  We got a lot of stops, but were never able to match their level of play,” Davis said before heading to the Central dressing room.

“We were impatient on offense as we never relied on what we had practiced, but I’m still proud of the season we had,” he concluded.

Brainerd’s Crawford sank a short jumper from the baseline to start the game and give the  Panthers a quick 2-0 lead.  Garnett Hubbard responded with a quick 3 from the wing for the Purple Pounders as Central led 3-2, but Brainerd scored the next 10 points and never regained the lead.

Xiyeer Lattimore, who scored 14 points to lead the Brainerd offense, got off to a hot start with back-to-back 3s as the Panthers shot the ball well out of the gate.

Keon Wheeler sank a 3 and Dennis Lewis Jr. hit two free throws in the final minute as Brainerd’s lead stretched to 22-10 when the first stanza ended.

Donovin Taylor-Wade sank a jumper from the wing with 2:51 left before intermission to cut Brainerd’s lead to 25-19, but Joshua Hood scored five straight points and Crawford scored on a putback as the Panthers finished the half on a 7-2 run for a 32-21 lead at the break.

The Panthers stretched their halftime lead to 16 points on three occasions in the third quarter and enjoyed its biggest lead of the game of 20 points at 56-36 after Thomas scored on a putback with 5:10 to play.

The Pounders scored the next 10 points over the next four minutes, but never got any closer than eight the rest of the way.  Brainerd sank five of eight free throws in the final minute to make the margin of victory 13 points.

While Lattimore had 14 points to lead the winning Panthers, Lewis and Hood both finished with 13.

Taylor-Wade scored 14 points to lead Central while Jailon Jackson and Hubbard had 11 points apiece.

Brainerd had an unofficial 27-24 advantage in rebounds with Thomas grabbing 10 and Crawford eight.  Jackson was tops for Central with eight.

Brainerd now plays at top-seeded Tyner on Saturday.

CENTRAL 10  11  13  16  --  50

BRAINERD  22  10  18  13  --  63

CENTRAL (50) – Taylor-Wade 14, Ken. Steward 4, Hubbard 11, Teague 2, Ky. Steward 2. Sanderfer 2, Jackson 11, Jones 1, Barn 3.

BRAINERD (63) – Lattimore 14, Lewis Jr. 13, Crawford 8, Wheeler 3, Byrdsong 5, Broadnax, Hood 13, Thomas 7.

3-POINT GOALS: Central 5 (Taylor-Wade 2, Hubbard 3); Brainerd 7 (Lattimore 2, Lewis Jr. 2, Wheeler, Hood 2).

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)


PREP SPORTS SCHEDULES: Week Of March 1

PREP ROUND-UP: Boys Region Quarterfinal Results; Red bank Survives In Region 3-2A

Dominant Cleveland Wins AAA State Wrestling Again


PREP SPORTS SCHEDULES: Basketball, Wrestling, Lacrosse, Soccer (all schedules subject to change) (All times are local) ***We are in need of your region basketball tournament schedules. ... (click for more)

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27 Prep Basketball Boys DI First Round Region 2-1A CSAS 65, Wartburg 60 Harriman 59, Sale Creek 26 Oneida 70, Copper Basin 31 Tellico Plains 57, ... (click for more)

The Cleveland Blue Raider wrestling team could have taken Friday night off and still won the AAA Traditional state tournament at the Chattanooga Trade & Convention Center, but they decided ... (click for more)



Prep Sports

PREP SPORTS SCHEDULES: Week Of March 1

PREP SPORTS SCHEDULES: Basketball, Wrestling, Lacrosse, Soccer (all schedules subject to change) (All times are local) ***We are in need of your region basketball tournament schedules. Also, we need updated baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse schedules. Please send them to Dennis Norwood, Assistant Sports Editor, at dennisnorwood56@gmail.com.*** Prep Basketball Post-Season ... (click for more)

PREP ROUND-UP: Boys Region Quarterfinal Results; Red bank Survives In Region 3-2A

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27 Prep Basketball Boys DI First Round Region 2-1A CSAS 65, Wartburg 60 Harriman 59, Sale Creek 26 Oneida 70, Copper Basin 31 Tellico Plains 57, Sunbright 42 Region 3-2A Red Bank 58, Sequoyah 57 The Lions went on the road Saturday night and survived to live again. Red Bank went into the fourth quarter leading by five over ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Westrock Facility Off Manufacturers Road Damaged By 2-Alarm Fire Sunday Afternoon

Chattanooga firefighters prevented a two-alarm fire from spreading through a massive warehouse on Sunday afternoon. The call came out at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday to the WestRock facility on Compress Street off Manufacturers Road. WestRock makes cardboard boxes. Responding crews could see heavy smoke coming from the structure and knew they were dealing with an active fire. ... (click for more)

Tony Bigoms, Convicted In 2012 Murder Of Dana Wilkes, Dies In State Prison

Tony Bigoms, 61, who was convicted in the 2012 murder of Dana Wilkes, died on Friday in a state prison. Bigoms was tried and convicted twice in the murder and dismemberment of Ms. Wilkes. Her body was found on the banks of the Chickamauga River. He was convicted of first-degree murder in 2014, but was granted a retrial after the court of appeals found issues with the sequestration ... (click for more)

Opinion

COVID Vaccine: Fomenting Fear And Spreading Disinformation

Tennesseans have proven we are resilient and determined moving through the COVID pandemic response. Getting to this point in our state -- one of only a handful that has economic growth, open schools and an ability to see a light at the end of this proverbial tunnel -- has taken unbelievable effort. Yet, one revelation of many over the last year has been the need to reject those ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In March

It was about midnight last night, just at the point we flip a page on the calendar, when the month of March arrived in the middle of a thunderstorm. You bet, just as it has for ages, this month arrives like a lion and eases out 31 days from now as a lamb. I could hardly mind the thunder; I am so glad to see the arrival of spring and the promise my flowers will awake from their winter’s ... (click for more)