For a good part of the first half, both Peach County and Central girls fought to pull themselves out of a mire of offensive doldrums in a match-up of the top 10-ranked teams in the GHSA’s 3A region.
The Chargers found their spark.
A back-breaking 9-0 run through the final two minutes of the first half put matters firmly in control for Central, and the Chargers rode that burst to a 42-22 victory.
Central (13-2) kept Peach County (12-6) at bay for the rest of the game, leading by now fewer than 15 points to maintain its grasp on first place in the region.
Five who mattered
ReNesha Goolsby: The Chargers had a clear edge from the outside thanks to her play. She drained five 3-pointers to account for all of her game-high 15 points.
Jada Clowers: She dominated in the paint, blocking five shots and pulling down 13 rebounds.
JenYa Wilder: She had a solid all-around night, pouring in nine points, eight rebounds and three steals.
Tyleia Williams: She helped give the Chargers some strong balance with a nine-point night to go with six rebounds and five assists.
Da’Nasia Shaw: Led Peach with eight points, all of them coming in the second half.
The Central lead was just 14-7 with a little more than three minutes to go in the first half. A 10-0 run to end the half, punctuated by a pair of Goolsby 3-pointers, however, turned the match-up in favor of Central.
Tough sledding on offense: The offensive play wasn’t really fundamentally bad on Friday for both teams, even with Peach needing a late run before halftime to lead 24-7. Both sides put forth strong defense up and down the court, and that wore the energy down as the game went on.
Surviving the press: Despite a 36-16 lead going into the fourth quarter, Central still had work to do in order to put the win away when Peach County went to a half-court press in an effort to force turnovers and baskets in transition. The Chargers didn’t buckle, navigating the defensive pressure to stay in control of the game.
Not so charitable: Both teams have at least one area to work on going forward — free throws. The Trojans were 3-of-8 with the Chargers being 4-of-16.
They said it
Central head coach Sheila Toombs on the Chargers overall effort: “The energy was there and they were communicating, I think they all wanted to play well. That’s what we’re looking for. Every day, we want to get better, as a team. As a team, we could not look much better than that.”
Toombs on Central’s offensive execution: “There was lull where we had so much adrenaline that the shots were falling short, I think we took a time out to settle down. Once we settled down, things started flowing better.”
Toombs on the key to beating Peach County’s defensive pressure in the fourth quarter: “As long as we stay in our offense and be aware, find the open person, stop the turnovers, that’s going to be key for us.”
Central boys beat Peach 66-54 in action following the girls game.
Peach County hosts Kendrick on Tuesday. Central plays at Westside on Tuesday.