Woods, Warriors win big

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Look out, AISA. The Central Christian Academy Warriors are coming to the playoffs fully loaded and with something to prove.

One week after being nixed in the state prep polls for the second time this season, Central Christian Academy rolled to a convincing 97-48 win Tuesday night over Prattville Christian.

Senior forward Tee Woods scored a career-high 38 points and collected 23 rebounds as the Warriors improved to 12-2 on the season and 4-0 in the area.

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“A game like this is important,” Woods said, “to send a statement that we’re a powerhouse in the AISA. We just go out, play hard every game and leave it all on the floor.”

It was the Panthers who were left on the floor Tuesday night, after the Warriors bruised, battered and had their way with the visitors from the opening whistle.

Many of Woods’ points came in the paint, where he pounded his way through the Prattville defense. Woods and Bud Smith highlighted a 24-0 CCA run in the third period that clearly sent the Warriors’ message to the pollsters.

After grabbing a 49-37 halftime advantage, the Warriors ran over the slower Panthers, who also could not hold on to the ball. Woods opened the second half with a pair of three-pointers, the second coming from the top of the key to stretch the margin to 57-37.

Midway through the third period, Woods grabbed one of his seven steals on the night and sent a cross-court bounce pass to Bud Smith. The CCA guard’s lay-up started a three-point play that made it a 67-37 game. Smith finished with 18 points, followed by Felix Baker with 17.

Smith added two more baskets, then capped the run with a half-court steal and pass to forward Simuel Walker for a driving lay-up and a 73-39 advantage.

“The rankings aren’t so important,” CCA coach Carl Rawls said, “as it is to get ready for the playoffs. We need to fine-tune for the playoffs. This was a good time to do that because this was an area game.”

Woods continued his offensive onslaught in the fourth quarter. The Panthers appeared to have finally stopped the CCA star when they trapped him in the corner, in front of the Warriors’ bench. Woods even had the ball tipped away for a moment, but recovered and drained a three-pointer to open the Warriors’ lead to 88-48.

Moments later, Woods missed a three-pointer from the top of the key, but followed his shot and sank a 12-footer to give the Warriors a 42-point advantage.

“We should be number two in the AISA,” Woods said, “behind (Marion Military Academy). They should be number one.

“All we can do,” Woods added, “is believe in God, play hard and leave everything out on the floor.”

The lopsided victory drew the ire of Prattville Academy fans, who accused Rawls and the Warriors of running up the score – a charge Rawls dismissed.

“I put my guys back in a zone defense,” he said. “I don’t know what else I can do.

“I’m not going to tell my guys to stop rebounding, stop shooting and stop playing hard,” Rawls added. “We play the whole game, from the opening whistle to the final horn.”