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Warriors take Prattville Christian tournament

Central Christian used an early run and a late defensive change to knock off Prattville Christian 57-39 and take the Panthers’ tournament on Saturday.

“I think that made the difference,” said coach Carl Rawls. “They kept playing hard and they just rebounded better and starting playing better defense in the zone.”

An Andrew Brackins layup at the 7:38 of the fourth quarter cut the Warriors’ lead to 41-36. But it would also be Prattville Christian’s last field goal of the game.

Two Taylor King free throws brought the Panthers’ to within 7 at 46-39, prompting the Warriors to switch from a man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone. The move stymied the Panthers’ inside opportunities the rest of the way, and the Warriors’ closed the game out at the free throw line.

Central Christian took control early with a 14-0 run sparked by an Artarious Cunningham 3-point play and the Panthers’ poor ball handling to run out to a 17-4 lead.

But just when it appeared the Warriors were going to run away with the contest, the teams’ fortunes reversed and the Warriors couldn’t buy a bucket as the Panthers reeled off a 10-0 run to trim the lead to 17-14.

Prattville Christian cut the deficit to 31-30 with a 9-0 run initiated by a Jeremy Carr layup. But Central Christian extended the lead back to 7 and outscored the Panthers 11-0 down the stretch to seal the win.

“Central Christian’s a great team,” said Prattville Christian coach Jason Roberson. “They’re well-coached, and I think they played harder than our guys today. I think they wanted it more.”

Cunningham and Keevan Woods led the Warriors with 15 points apiece. Wesley Bell added 13. Carr led the Panthers with 10.