Last postseason, Central came agonizingly close to advancing to the 3A semifinals, losing by a point in the quarterfinals.
The Chargers, however, are determined not to let their girls basketball program rest on its laurels and ensure that it’s not defined by just one postseason run.
“The loss, it really humbled us,” Central guard Tyleia Williams said. “It showed us how hard we would have to work this year and the hours we would need to put in.”
That resolve is showing on the court so far this season. Not only is Central 7-1, but it has also posted wins over steady midstate programs such as Washington County and Jones County. Central’s only loss is the 6A Northside. The most recent accolade? Winning the Jones County State Bank Classic in Friday’s 65-44 victory in Gray.
“We’re trying to take it day by day, moment by moment and game by game,” Central head coach Sheila Toombs said. “This is just another step for what we’re trying to do.”
This isn’t Central’s first tournament title. The stage, however, does add some prestige to Friday’s win. The Chargers won a tournament last year in Greenville. This one, however, carries more weight with Central having won in the heart of Middle Georgia as well as doing so by way of victories against against Jones County and Washington County.
“It means a lot. Starting off, we want to show our potential, this year,” Williams said. “We want to start something and finish and we want to do the best we can for our coaches and school and community.”
A main element for the Chargers continued success? Balance.
Teams have to account for the scoring power and rebounding prowess of 6-foot-2 forward Jada Clowers, who has attracted recruiting interest from teams such as UNC Greensboro and Miami of Ohio. But the Chargers strategy on offense is beyond just chucking the ball to the post and letting the tall player score.
Throw in the play of Williams at guard and JeNya Wilder at small forward along with the selfless play of Zaren Harris, and Central has multiple players in place to step up night after night.
“For us, the key has been being positive,” Clowers said. “We motivate each other in practice every day and always tell each other, keep our heads up.”