The Madison Central coaching staff knew they didn’t have the athleticism to matchup effectively with Bryan Station.
So, the Indians best option to pick up a victory Saturday in the quarterfinals of the 11th Region Tournament was to try to keep the Defenders (21-7) away from the basket and make them shoot from the outside.
That strategy didn’t work.
Bryan Station shot 63 percent from three-point range (7-of-11) and got 24 points from Andre Davis and topped the Indians (18-12), 67-50 at McBrayer Arena. The Defenders shot 53 percent from the field (27-of-51) and had three players reach double figures in scoring.
Senior Kirkland Humphrey had a team-best 16 points and five assists in his final game for Central. John Williams added 11 points for the Indians.
“Our only chance to beat them was if they didn’t shoot the ball well - and they shot the eyes out of it,” Central coach Allen Feldhaus said. :That’s why we started out zone, because we knew we’d have a hard time keeping them away from the basket with the athletes they’ve got.”
Davis helped the Defenders get out to a big first-half lead.
The junior guard hit back-to-back three pointers late in the first quarter that gave Station a 16-9 lead. A putback by Timothy Dunn pushed the Defenders’ advantage to nine points heading into the second quarter.
Davis hit two more three-pointers in the second quarter, including one in the final seconds that gave the Defenders a 34-19 halftime lead. The junior was 6-of-9 from the field (4-of-5 from three-point range) in the first half and had 17 points.
While Davis was catching fire, Central’s top post player was struggling.
Senior Sam Jones was 1-of-7 in the first half with two points and two turnovers.
“He just couldn’t get anything easy,” Feldhaus said. “That hurt us.”
Station shot 54 percent in the first half and connected on 5-of-8 shots from long range.
Central was just 9-of-29 (31 percent) from the field and 1-of-5 from three-point range,
“We couldn’t finish,” Feldhaus said. “We only have one guy athletically who can finish at the basket and that’s John Williams. That’s it. He can get there and jump with those guys. We just couldn’t get a shot off.”
The Indians did battle back in the second half.
After sitting much of the first half with two fouls, Terique Miller gave Central a spark. The junior guard hit three second-half three-pointers and finished with nine points.
Miller hit a pair of threes early in the fourth quarter that got the Indians back with eight points (48-40).
Dunn responded with a a three-pointer moments later. From that point on, Central was never able to get back within double-digits.
“We never could make that big stop,” Feldhaus said.
Jones finished with seven points and 10 rebounds for Central. Williams also had seven rebounds. Grant Brockman had five points and Seth Richardson added two points.
Central was 5-of-11 from three-point range in the second half and was 6-of-16 from long range for the game.
The teams combined for just 11 turnovers (six for Central) and Station won the battle on the boards, 34-33.
Central had advanced to at least the semifinals of the 11th Region Tournament in each of the past four years. The Indians last opening-round loss came to Lafayette in 2010.
Station was only six-of-15 from the free throw line.
The Defenders advance to Monday’s semifinals to take on Lafayette, which beat Franklin County Saturday at McBrayer.