Central Tuscaloosa shut down Sumter Central when it mattered most.
The Falcons broke open a tight game in the fourth quarter of their 50-38 victory in the AHSAA Class 5A Central Regional semifinals Monday at the Acadome.
“I don’t care if we’re down 10 or 12 points at halftime, I know we can press,” Central Tuscaloosa coach Michael Rivers said. “If we get to the second half, then we’ll turn it up. If we don’t have the fouls in the second half, then we can play our style of ball. That’s how we go into every game because we’re not deep at all.”
Central Tuscaloosa (29-4) limited Sumter Central (15-9) to six points in game’s final 8 minutes in advancing to Thursday’s 9 a.m. regional final to play Talladega.
“It seems like we get to this point every year to the regional championships and this is where we lay an egg,” Rivers said. “We can’t get over the hump. Hopefully, this is our year to get over the hump.”
The Tigers beat Demopolis, 49-44, in the first regional semifinal Monday at ASU.
“They play a methodical game, but it’s their game and they don’t change,” said Rivers about Talladega. “They’re going to whip it around, try to get it inside to the big girl.
“If it’s not there, they’ll kick it back out for the open jumper. We’ve got to be patient. We can’t get in foul trouble and hopefully, our will will take over in the second half.”
Jada Prewitt scored a game-high 14 points for Central Tuscaloosa as she hit 2-of-4 from 3-point range.
“She it a couple of clutch 3s for us,” Rivers said. “I just kept telling her, ‘I believe in you. Shoot it,’ because when you play sports, you can’t shoot and miss and let that be the end of it. Otherwise, you’ll never get anywhere. You’ve got to continue to put it up.”
Prewitt’s scoring helped open up the interior for Shawntayla Harris, who finished with 11 points.
“I’m used to (double teams), but sometimes during certain games, I just can’t think it through on how to get around that, and I make simple mistakes,” Harris said. “Turn the ball over, but I think I picked it up in the second half.”
Maya Buckhannon posted a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds in leading Talladega (18-9).
Talladega shot 50 percent (9-of-18) in the second half of the win. Ivery Moore scored a team-high 19 points for Demopolis (23-8).