Sumter Central’s payback tour is now in playoff mode.
The Jaguars avenged last year’s loss to Central Tuscaloosa with a 68-46 victory in the AHSAA Class 5A Central Regional semifinals Monday at the Acadome.
“We had to pay them back,” Sumter Central guard Jadarius Wilson said.
The tour will continue in Thursday’s 11 a.m. regional final against Dallas County, which beat Talladega, 66-57, in the regional semifinals Monday.
Sumter Central is 1-2 against the Hornets this season.
“Oooh, we’ve got to get them back,” Sumter Central forward Frederick Seals said. “Payback.”
Last year, Central Tuscaloosa beat Sumter Central in the subregional, 54-52.
“I said I wasn’t going to play Central no more until I see them on a big floor because I played them so many times,” Sumter coach said Jazmin Mitchell. “Last year, I played them four times and when you play a team four times, it’s hard to beat a team that many times.”
Central Tuscaloosa made it all the way to the state semifinals before losing to Ramsay in the state semifinals. On Monday, Sumter returned the favor in its quest to make it to Birmingham.
“They got me when it counted,” Mitchell continued. “So I got them when it counted this time. I told (Central Tuscaloosa coach Robert Watson) on a joke, ‘I got you this time.'”
Sumter Central (23-10) led 41-30 heading into the fourth quarter and extended its advantage by scoring against Central Tuscaloosa’s press and making free throws.
In the second half, the Jaguars shot 15-of-19 from the field and 13-of-18 from the line.
“We go over it in practice every day,” Seals said about handling the press. “(Mitchell) keep us on it.”
David Law led Sumter Central with 20 points while David Robinson paced Central Tuscaloosa (16-14) with 14. Seals added 12 points and nine boards while Wilson chipped in nine points.
Sumter Central has not advanced to the state semifinals since basketball powers Sumter County and Livingston consolidated earlier this decade. The Jaguars are a win away from changing that and more.
“People just don’t understand,” said Mitchell, who as a player led Sumter County to a Class 4A title in 1998. “Our situation is tough. We come from two basketball schools. Sumter County won six state championships. Livingston won two.
“Our people are just now starting to get together. If we can turn the corner and make it to Birmingham, we can get that school rolling.”
Dallas County 66,
Jerrod Moorer scored 32 points to lead Dallas County (23-5).
The Tigers (30-3) didn’t make a field goal in the game’s final 2 minutes, 42 seconds. DeAngelo Scales scored a team-high 13 points for Talladega.