By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
The Berea Community Pirates put up a spirited fight Friday, but in the end Madison Central’s length and strength inside was just too much.
The Indians’ inside tandem of Demarcus George (23 points, nine rebounds), and Sam Jones (17 points and nine rebounds) powered Central to a 90-59 win over the Pirates.
Leading 45-32 at the half, Central used runs of 13-4 to open the third quarter and 12-4 to end the period, taking a commanding 68-46 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Nine straight points by Jones and George to begin the fourth quarter gave Central its biggest lead at 77-46.
But, the Pirates showed that there was no quit in them.
After Austin Warford connected on two technical free throws, Andy Allen and Trey Terrill combined for six straights points to cut the advantage to 81-55, but that was as close as they could get.
Terrill led the way for Berea with 16 points and six rebounds, while Allen finished with 15 points, six rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot.
The Pirates went toe-to-toe with the defending state champs and didn’t back down when the play began to get rough and physical on both ends.
As a matter of fact, Berea battled on the boards all night and out-rebounded the much bigger Indians through the first three quarters. But in the end, Jones, George, Isaiah Johnson and Ross Ramsey were just too strong inside and the Indians ended up winning the rebounding battle, 43-22.
Central coach Allen Feldhaus said he was just glad to get out with a win in the very physical contest, that featured three technical fouls.
“It was rough out there. I’m just glad to get out of here and move on,” Feldhaus said. “They were out-rebounding us at the half and that shouldn’t happen. Our kids were complaining about what they weren’t calling and stuff. I told them to just play their game and finally in the second half we did that and pulled away.”
Early on it looked like Central was going to have its way with Berea, jumping out to a quick 7-0 lead.
But the Pirates hung tough, pulling to within 7-4 on baskets by Dustin Kates and Caleb Goss.
After the Indians pushed out to a 12-point lead, a Terrill three and a basket by Allen got Berea back to within seven, 19-12.
Isaiah Johnson gave the Indians a 28-14 lead after one quarter a few minutes later with a basket at the buzzer.
The Indians steadily increased their lead and were up 43-27 on a three pointer by Cameron Thomas with under three minutes left in the first half.
But Berea once again answered back thanks to Terrill and Allen, outscoring Central 5-2 the rest of the way to get to within 45-32 at the half.
Berea coach Cameron Jackson said he was proud of the way his team fought all night.
“Effort isn’t everything but it allows you to do some things well, The kids gave a great effort tonight and played tough till the final buzzer,” he said. “Central is a well-coached team and we wanted to put them to the test and play our butts off.”
Johnson finished with 11 points for the Indians, while Coty Alexander had eight points, three assists, Thomas had seven points and three assists, Michael Clay added six points, John Williams and Kirk Humphrey had four points each and Seth Richardson had three points.
The Indians shot 40.7 percent from the field, 25 percent from behind the three-point line and had their best game of the year at the free throw line, going 11-of-15 for 73.3 percent.
For the Pirates, Shyiem Alexander finished with seven points and four rebounds, Austin Warford had six points and four rebounds, Derek Castle had six points, four rebounds, Goss and Kates had four points each and Cameron Coyle had two points.
The Pirates shot 34.7 percent from the field, 22.2 percent from behind the arc.
Berea returns to action today when it hosts Sayre at 4:30 p.m.
The Indians are back in action today also when they host Woodford County at 7:30 p.m.