Register Staff Report
The Madison Central Indians picked up an 86-64 win over Worthington Kilborne (Ohio) Friday in the opening round of the Gateway Holiday Classic in Mount Sterling.
The Indians rebounded well from their loss Sunday in the championship game of the Berea Holiday Classic, putting five players in double figures in the convincing win over the Wolves.
Sam Jones led the way with a team-high 21 points and eight rebounds. Cameron Thomas finished with 16 points and handed out eight assists, while DeMarcus George added 15 points and eight rebounds, Coty Alexander had 13 points and Isaiah Johnson had 12 points and five assists.
“We played well. They were a good team and had some big kids, but we pressed them and they couldn’t play the fast-paced game,” Central coach Allen Feldhaus said. “We pressed the whole game and got it in our favor tempo-wise and turned them over a lot and took advantage of it.”
The Indians jumped out to an 8-2 lead only to see the Wolves storm back to take a 10-8 lead with 1:24 left, but Central managed to tie it at 12 at the end of the first quarter.
The lead changed hands six times in the second quarter before Central took the lead for good at 22-20 on a three pointer by Alexander at the 4:38 mark. The Indians stretched their advantage out to 42-22 at the half.
Thomas, the Indians’ sophomore point guard struggled, against Montgomery County last week, but came out and played well against the Wolves.
“He struggled a little early but after I took him out for a couple of minutes early he came out and played really well,” Feldhaus said. “He had eight assists, which is more of what we expect from him. He really bounced back. He’s just a sophomore and he’s still learning at a tough position to learn. You’re going to have some good ones and some bad ones. It happens to all the good ones.”
The Indians steadily pulled away in the third quarter, taking their largest lead at 52-28 with 4:32 remaining.
Central held a 66-42 advantage at the end of the third quarter and never let the Wolves get closer than 21 points the rest of the way.
“When they press you, you have to keep attacking and we did and we got some easy baskets off it and kept the pressure on after getting the big lead,” Feldhaus said. “We’ve got to get everybody in the game, which is good. You don’t have too many times you get to do that, so it was a good day.”
Kirk Humphrey added three points and two assists for the Indians, while Seth Richardson, Ross Ramsey and John Williams had two points each.
The Indians defense forced the Wolves into to 20 turnovers, which resulted in 26 points at the other end.
Central’s inside tandem of Jones and George held lead the Indians out-score the Wolves by 10, 48-38, in the paint.
Central shot 49.3 percent from the field and were four-of-9, for 44.4 percent from behind the three-point line. The Indians were 16-of-24 for 66.7 percent from the free throw line.
The Wolves shot 48.1 percent from the field, but only managed 2-of-8 from behind the arc, for 25 percent, and finished 12-of-20 from the free throw line.
Central is back in action in the tournament today when they take on Lincoln County at 6 p.m.
Feldhaus said he expects a tough game from the Patriots, who soundly beat Dunbar 72-48 on Friday.
The Patriots return almost everybody from a team that came into Richmond last season and gave the eventual state champions a tough game before falling 55-46.
“They are really good. They really wore Dunbar out. They got beat in the finals of the Mercer County Tournament last week by two points by Lexington Catholic, so they are a good team,” Feldhaus said. “To look at them you wouldn’t think they are good. But they can shoot the heck out of it. We have to contain their point guard and their outside shooters. We have to hurt them on the boards and dominate the boards because we are going to have a hard time guarding them.”