Well into preparations for its GHSA Class AAA Tournament quarterfinal game against South Atlanta, the Central boys basketball team was still hearing plenty of talk about its previous game.
Or, to be more direct, how Derrick Evans ended that game.
Evans' one-on-one knockdown of a 15-footer at the buzzer sent the crowd at Central into a frenzy Saturday. The shot gave the Chargers a 69-67 victory over Banks County, a win that got Central over a postseason hump it had been trying to climb for some time.
"Everybody was talking about it," said Central's Rakwon Iverson, whose two fourth-quarter 3-pointers played a pivotal role in that game. "They call Derrick Evans the Magic Man, and he really came through for us."
Now the only team left from the Bibb County School District in either the boys or girls brackets, Central (27-2) has faced the task this week of focusing the energy from Saturday's win into taking on a talented South Atlanta squad on Thursday at Augusta's Christenberry Fieldhouse.
Central enters Thursday's game as a bit of an underdog. All four teams on Central's side of the Class AAA bracket are listed in the Score Atlanta rankings, with Central in the lowest spot at No. 6. South Atlanta is ranked second, with potential semifinal opponents Morgan County and Laney ranked first and fourth, respectively.
"We just have to continue what we've been doing," Central head coach Andre Taylor said. "We're just taking on tougher competition, we just need to play together. Whatever happens, happens."
What gives Central hope is its ability to present multiple looks on offense.
The Chargers are able to pound the ball inside to 6-foot-10, 265-pound junior Kentrevious Jones, who also showed some range along the baseline at times against Banks County. They are able to hand it off to high-scoring Antarius McCoy. Rakwon Iverson is a threat from outside and can make things happen defensively. And, as he proved Saturday, Evans can call his own number when needed, as well.
"We feel really good about it," McCoy said. "This is our first time going to the Elite Eight in a couple of years, so we're very excited about it."
Making South Atlanta (24-6) especially difficult to face, Central's players and coaches say, is the ability several of its players have to shoot with either hand.
The left-handed shot presents a whole new dimension to guard against on defense, and those at Central say they have been preparing for that this week.
Artavious Banks, a 6-4 senior power forward, scored 21 points in South Atlanta's 79-73 second-round victory over Callaway. Point guard Devontae Dean also is a player to watch.
"They have a guard who's left-handed, and he really killed us last year," Iverson said, referring to South Atlanta's 91-83 win over Central in the 2014 Jones County holiday tournament in which Dean scored 25 points. "We've been working on it, watching films and stuff. We've got it right."