Greenville fends off tough Central team

Published 5:11 pm Friday, January 15, 2016

Greenville’s Charles Warren kept the Tigers’ head above water with 100-percent accuracy at the free throw line in the fourth quarter.

Greenville’s Charles Warren kept the Tigers’ head above water with 100-percent accuracy at the free throw line in the fourth quarter.

A stingy second-half Greenville defense and some clutch free throw shooting helped fend off the hungry Central High School Lions for the second time this season.

But an intense Lions offense took it to the Tigers out of the gate, dominating the early game down low with the help of the 6-foot-8 center Jatavius Robinson.

But excellent outside shooting from Tracey Franklin and Charles Warren kept the Tigers afloat.

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Momentum shifted suddenly in the Lions’ favor, however, thanks to a pair of threes from Tariq Aaron—his first of many—and Kentravious Dudley, though the Tigers came out on top in a last-minute scramble to close the quarter with a 3-point lead.

A second-quarter stalemate ended with a 7-point Central run, but a 3-pointer from Dedric Owens punctured the lead and paved the way for a Greenville run that culminated in a thunderous jam from Tyler Stone just moments before the half.

Warren awakened behind the perimeter in the third quarter, starting the second half with a pull-up 3-pointer.

The Greenville defense also doubled its resolve in the second half, containing Robinson and his capable rebounding ability and eliminating second-chance points.

With mounting foul trouble for Central’s Robinson and others, the Lions’ interior defense began to collapse, keeping the Tigers firmly in control of the game’s tempo throughout the third quarter.

Another 3-pointer from Owens gave the Tigers an 8-point lead—it’s biggest of the night.  Jonathan Powell’s continuous attacks on the inside kept the Lions’ on their collective heels.

But the Lions’ sizeable deficit vanished in the blink of an eye, thanks to the hot hand of Tariq Aaron beyond the arc.

The point guard unleashed a flurry of 3-pointers, cutting the lead to just 4 points with 4:51 remaining in the game.

A no-call on a possible goaltend set the Greenville sideline alight with anger, and Aaron took advantage of the distraction to sink another 3-pointer, cutting the lead to a single point with 3:23 remaining.

Yet another 3-pointer from Aaron secured a Central lead, but Tyler Stone’s continuous attacks at the basket—and subsequent trips to the free throw line—regained the lead for the Tigers.

With time becoming the Lions’ biggest enemy, fouling became Central’s only option to cut into the deficit.

But with Warren shooting 100 percent at the charity strike, there was little room for a Lions comeback.

Greenville small forward Malik Bunch sealed the deal by intercepting an inbound pass with only seconds left on the clock, leaving the Tigers holding on to a 73-67 win.

The Tigers will travel to Brewbaker Tech Magnet High School Tuesday.