Smith leads Central Christian past MMI
An outstanding defensive effort in the second half made the difference as the home-standing Central Christian Academy Warriors roared back from a lackluster half to beat Marion Military, 50-43 Friday night.
The Warriors struggled to find their shot all night but made up for it with a tenacious effort on defense.
A 5 for 31 shooting effort in the first half put the Warriors in a 30-18 hole at the half.
But in the second half CCA turned up the pressure. They forced a myriad of MMI mistakes and turned them into trips to the foul line.
The Warriors struggled from the charity stripe as well, but the shear volume of free throws was enough to turn the tide.
Against CCA’s defensive pressure, the depleted Tigers had only two points in the third quarter and 13 for the second half.
Though they only hit 15 of their 34 free throws, the Warriors hustled their way to the win.
With two starters out due to the flu, Ivey’s team lost two more to foul trouble.
The Tigers just couldn’t handle CCA’s pressure in the second half.
Bud Smith led the Warriors charge with a 22-point night.
He also had three steals and several broken up passes.
Pat Thomas added 18 points, 10 boards and 4 steals in the winning effort.
Destry Everhart provided a spark in the second half.
He finished with 6 points, 4 steals, 3 boards and 4 assists.
T’ Chelpio Woods got in early foul trouble and struggled with his shot all night.
But Woods found other ways to contribute. He finished with 9 rebounds, 4 points, 3 assists, 5 steals and 2 blocks.
Andre Pearson and Simuel Walker each added some board work for the Warriors.
For MMI, Quenteric Reed led with 16 points.
Brandon Chandler went crazy on the boards in the first half and finished with 8 points and 14 rebounds.
David Coleman added 6 Tigers points and 7 rebounds.
Douglass Fitz-Gerald added 5 points while Shane Phillips and Javoris Smith had 4 each.
Smith added 8 boards before heading to the bench with foul trouble early in the fourth quarter.
Things got off to an ugly start for the Warriors.
The clanked shot after shot off the rim and with Chandler attacking the boards, MMI jumped out to a 17-4 lead on the back of a 13-0 run to close the first quarter.
CCA fought back in the second quarter, but both teams kept the defensive pressure high. Thomas and B. Smith led the CCA charge with 8 and 6 points respectively in the frame.
MMI led 30-18 at the break but it went downhill from there.
With the Warriors’ full-court press on, the Tigers couldn’t get into their offense.
CCA still wasn’t sharp from the field, but they were able to get to the line and get the game close.
They outscored MMI 12-2 in the third quarter.
As the Warriors cut into the lead, it seemed like they couldn’t get over the hump.
They’d cut the lead to a single point, but then miss the game-tying free throw.
They stayed within striking distance, but couldn’t take the lead for several minutes.
Trailing 32-30 after three quarters, the Warriors put the game away late in the fourth.
They outscored MMI 20-11 on the strength oaf several free throws and some fine defensive work.
The defense turned into easy offense as B. Smith scored three lay-ups in the final minutes to help seal the win.
CCA was set to travel to Coosa Valley Saturday.
MMI will travel to Marengo on Monday.
With the win, CCA improved to 5-0 while MMI falls to 6-1 on the season.