High School Sports

Central girls stay atop region, pull away from Peach

Jada Clowers (30) of Central hangs onto a rebound with Peach County's Ileha Pickens (42) reaching in during Friday’s game.
Jada Clowers (30) of Central hangs onto a rebound with Peach County's Ileha Pickens (42) reaching in during Friday’s game. bcabell@macon.com

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.

Turning point

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.

Observations

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.”

Boys game

Central boys beat Peach 66-54 in action following the girls game.

What’s next

Peach County hosts Kendrick on Tuesday. Central plays at Westside on Tuesday.

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