Central boys, girls brush back Range


star staff
mbirchfield@starhq.com
  The Central boys were tested throughout the first half, but when it was time for the stars to shine, the Comets blew past Range in a 68-46 final on Thursday night.
  It took Central three quarters before they were finally able to pull away from the Rebels, as a big run in third period by the Comets built them an advantage that Range was unable to erase.
  "We started loosening up and started passing the ball better, and that's been a big key for us with just making good passes and having a better shot selection," said Central coach Lamont Barnett. "The first half our shot selection was no that good, so we had to regroup and talk about things to get them ironed out."
  Central got off to a quick start with a 7-2 run in the opening minutes.
  A couple of fast break baskets from Derek Mann helped the Comets gain the early momentum.
  Range fell behind but didn't fall out, for they made a nice run toward the end of the period to take an one-point lead with 45 seconds left.
  A rebound and put back underneath by John Tolley gave the Rebels their first lead on the evening.
  Central came back to wrestle away the lead at the end of the first quarter, when Clint Hoilman knocked down a turnaround shot inside.
  Hoilman led the way underneath for Central during the second period, as he poured in 13 points and finished with 23 total.
  "He's our sparkplug and when he goes we go," said Barnett. "Sometimes he gets double teamed, so other guys have to pick up the slack."
  Just like in the opening quarter the Comets started off good to build a nice lead, but the Rebels managed once again to fight back.
  A bucket down low from Drew Clark give Central a 19-10 lead, but they watched their advantage evaporate the next minute and a half with Jacob Phillips starting the rally with a three.
  Field goals from Anthony Scalf and Ritchie Perkey drew the Rebels to within four by the end of the half, as Central clung to a 29-25 lead.
  Range continued to match the Comets early on in the third period with a foul-line jumper and basket off a loose ball from Perkey.
  The momentum would soon swing in the favor of Central, as it went on a 21-1 run to end the third quarter.
  Perkey sat down after gaining his fifth foul early on, and it was all down hill for Range after that.
  The key starter had gotten in foul trouble during the first half, as he was assessed a technical foul for a flop on trying to draw the charge.
  Range was not the same and Central became almost flawless the next three and a half minutes.
  Several fast-break baskets from Mann during the third period helped enable the Comets to enjoy a 52-30 advantage by the end of the quarter.
  Range tried to rally to start the fourth with a three from Phillips and putback by Kasey Raines, but Central was too strong down the stretch.
  "We got some fast breaks that really paid off for us, and our big men underneath started picking up," said Barnett. "I feel like our team is very unselfish and we passthe ball to the open man and work on getting the right man the right shot.
  "The overall performance from these guys made me proud of them."
  Lady Comets 43
  Lady Rebels 15
  The Lady Comets celebrated their second conference victory on the season in impressive fashion.
  After coming out and taking control throughout the first half, Central was able to relax a little and get some key minutes out of their under classman.
  "They didn't have any trouble tonight. They executed their plays very well," said Letha Carr. "I got to put in some younger kids, so they got to play and get some experience."
  Central opened up with a 16-0 lead by the end of the first period.
  The Comets were led by Whitney Murray, who had eight points during the first period and finished with 15 to lead all scorers on the evening.
  Samantha Berry came through for Central during the second period, as she scored all of Central's eight points.
  A free throw from Brittany Tilson was all the points that Range put on the board in the first half, with Central holding a commanding lead of 22-1 at the break.
  It was a much better second half for the Lady Rebels, as Emily Scalf connected on two three-point goals during the third and fourth quarters.
  Central continued to hold off Range during the final period with a 15-foot jumper from Laura Moore to start things off.
  A basket from Abbie Edens on an inbounds pass inside got the Rebels rolling, as the fourth quarter turned out to be their most productive period of the night.
  "It's always good to get a win in the conference, and we're now 2-0 and that's pretty pleasing," said Carr. "We'll play Unaka Monday night, so that should let us know where we stand in the conference."