Warren Central focused on one key area this week – finishing.
After dropping three straight games by two points each, the Dragons bounced back with a dominating 79-59 win over Greenwood on Friday. One day later, Central was able to finish again – beating longtime rival Bowling Green 49-45 on Saturday night at Warren Central High School.
“We had a bad stretch of basketball where we just didn’t finish games,” Warren Central coach William Unseld said. “We’re a helluva basketball team. The kids fought. We told them it was gonna be a dogfight. We’re finding our groove at the right time.”
The Dragons (10-6, 3-1 District 14) were the aggressors in the opening quarter as they built a 16-8 lead. Bowling Green battled back in the second, but Central took a 28-23 advantage into the locker room at halftime. The two sides played a competitive, back-and-forth second half, but WCHS was able to make clutch free throws and hold on for the victory.
Tayshaun Bibb scored a game-high 16 points for the Dragons, while Dre Boyd tallied 10.
“It felt good,” Bibb said of his performance and the win. “We just came in and wanted to do the little things right and just play hard and compete. I’m proud of my teammates for just playing hard.”
Isaiah Mason led the way for Bowling Green (15-3, 4-1) with a team-high 11 points.
Warren Central came out of the gate and jumped out to a quick start.
Using a 7-0 run, the Dragons built a 7-2 lead at the 4:40 mark of the first quarter to put Bowling Green in an early hole. A Cobi Huddleston basket brought the Purples within 10-6 at the 2:54 mark, but back-to-back baskets from Central put it up eight at 14-6.
After Bibb knocked down a pair of free throws to give the Dragons a 18-11 advantage early into the second, Bowling Green received two straight scores from Huddleston and Mason to cut its deficit to 18-15 at the 6:34 mark. Davion Dice’s layup just over two minutes later made it 20-19.
Warren Central answered with scores on back-to-back possessions to go up 24-19, and it soon led 28-23 at the break.
Bibb was up to 10 points for the Dragons, while Mason had tallied nine for the Purples.
“The three-game losing streak was an eye opener,” Bibb said. “We’re a team that can lose to anybody on any night but we can beat anybody. We’ve just gotta come out and compete and play basketball.”
The two sides gave it all they had in the ensuing half.
Warren Central used a 5-0 run – highlighted by a Jamale Barber 3-pointer – to take a 33-25 lead at the 5:42 mark of the third quarter, but Bowling Green fired back with back-to-back scores from Kolbe Gray to get within 33-29.
After a lengthy five-minute scoring drought, the Purples extended their run to 9-0 and Turner Buttry’s 3 from the left wing put Bowling Green up 34-33 – giving it its first lead since being up 2-0 to open the game. However, Bibb scored inside with 20 seconds remaining in the period to give the Dragons a tight 35-34 advantage entering the fourth.
Dice and Mason scored on two straight possessions to put the Purples up 40-37, but just before Tegra Muleka recorded a basket on the other end to bring Warren Central within one with 4:18 remaining. Muleka stepped up big again on the Dragons’ next trip, scoring a tough layup in the middle of the paint to put them up 43-42 with 2:24 left.
A pair of free throws from Bibb pushed Central’s lead to 45-42 with 1:21 left, and Kobe Brents followed up with two of his own to make it a five-point affair. Jordan Dingle scored off an assist from Buttry on the Purples’ next possession to bring them within 47-44, and a free throw from Jaylen Wardlow soon made it 47-45.
“Our kids played hard,” Bowling Green coach Derrick Clubb said. “Everything I asked them to do tonight, they did. I just thought our kids kept fighting ‘till the very end and we gave ourselves a chance.”
Bowling Green had the chance to tie it on a runner from Buttry, but it fell short and Conner Cooper knocked it out of bounds to give the ball to Warren Central. The Dragons were able to make a pair of free throws and hold off the Purples for a marquee district victory.
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Both teams return to action Tuesday as Warren Central hosts South Warren and Bowling Green hosts Franklin-Simpson. Both games are scheduled to get underway at 7:30 p.m.
“We can’t get comfortable,” said Bibb. “We’ve just gotta control what we can control, come into practice and just get better. We’ve just gotta come out and compete every night.”
Bowling Green – 8 15 11 11 — 45
Warren Central – 16 12 7 14 — 49
BGHS – Isaiah Mason 11, Kolbe Gray 8, Davion Dice 8, Jordan Dingle 6, Trevor Dennis 4, Turner Buttry 3, Cobi Huddleston 2, Ivan Drobocky 2, Jaylen Wardlow 1.
Jones heats up in Lady Purples’ rout of Warren Central
Keyozdon Jones knocked down eight 3-pointers and scored a game-high 28 points, while T’Alla Brown finished with 18 points to lead the Bowling Green girls’ basketball team to a 70-31 win over Warren Central on Saturday evening at Warren Central High School.
The Lady Purples (16-4, 6-0 District 14) – who won their ninth straight game – had to battle with a hard-nosed Warren Central team throughout the opening quarter but pulled away in the second to take a comfortable lead into the locker room at halftime. They continued to execute in the second half and recorded another victory to remain perfect in district play.
While Jones and Brown set the tone and filled the stat sheet, Bowling Green earned a nine-point performance out of Saniyah Shelton, while Taylor Ragland tallied seven points.
Krisheana Johnson paced the Lady Dragons (0-17, 0-4) with a team-high 12 points.
Both teams will meet again next Friday at Bowling Green High School. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Bowling Green – 20 21 19 10 — 70
Warren Central – 11 9 6 5 — 31
BGHS – Keyozdon Jones 28, T’Alla Brown 18, Saniyah Shelton 9, Taylor Ragland 7, Kiyah Gray 4.
WCHS – Krisheana Johnson 12, Taelor Leach 6, Kyleigh Ray 5, La Aunhni Lewis 4, Aliyah Whitfield 2, Jimea Shobe 2.