FORT VALLEY -- The Central Chargers advanced to the GHSA Region 2-AAA championship game with a 74-60 victory over the Henry County Warhawks on Saturday at the region tournament hosted by Peach County.
The victory clinches a first-round home game in the Class AAA tournament for the Chargers.
Weve played pretty well at home this season, so to have a home game and not have to travel is enormous, Central head coach Andre Taylor said.
Central raced to a 10-2 lead early in the first quarter and withstood a Henry County run that cut that lead to just three for a 10-point halftime advantage. The momentum carried over through the break, and the third quarter belonged to Central as its lead ballooned to 18, which was simply too much for the cold-shooting Warhawks to overcome.
Central will play Carver-Columbus, which beat Peach County 54-44, for the region title.
Weve been playing pretty well in the second half all season, Taylor said. It seems like it takes us a little while to get going, and when we come back in the second half, I guess they just decide its time.
Five Chargers finished the game in double figures, led by 15 points from freshman guard Terry McCoy. Central is now just one win away from reaching its goal of winning the region championship.
That was one of our goals at the beginning of the season, so it would be great for the guys to be able to reach that goal, Taylor said. Hopefully we can go into the state playoffs and ride that momentum on through.
Earlier Saturday, the Southwest girls came up short in a close semifinal contest against Pike County, 62-54.
The Patriots trailed by five at the half and trimmed a 12-point Pike County lead to four with 30 seconds to play, but the Pirates were able to seal the game from the free-throw line.
The difference was the little things, Southwest head coach Willie Goolsby said. We wouldnt block out, and theyd get the rebound and score. Theyd cut off of a screen, and we werent sagging. We missed too many layups, as well, but Im still proud of the way the kids played. We gave them a run all the way to the end.
Kayla Waters and Shakenya Peters led the Patriots with 16 points each, while NyAsia Holmes added 15. Southwest will play for the third seed Monday.
Our region is real strong, and this is really going to help us going into the state tournament, Goolsby said. We played a tough team, and its going to make us better. Obviously we would like to get the third seed so we dont have to play a one seed.