Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 26, 2013

Central steps forward

Sluggish lately, the Golden Eagles move into semifinals

Joshua Ball
For The Independent

PIKEVILLE — Johnson Central’s opening-round 15th Region Tournament game left many scratching their heads, including head coach Tommy McKenzie.

The Golden Eagles looked sluggish, but managed to advance, topping Prestonsburg 61-52 Monday night at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center in Pikeville.

“This is the third straight game we have come out sluggish and let our opponents dictate the tempo of the game,” said a frustrated McKenzie. “We can’t afford to continue to play like this.”

Central, the winners of the 57th District, won its two district games by a combined six points, including a 50-49 victory over Sheldon Clark last Friday.

It was survive and advance Monday night.

“We better wake up,” McKenzie said. “Everyone’s shooting for us. We are the defending champs. The road isn’t going to get any easier for us.”

The Golden Eagles (20-10) had three players in double figures. Junior Shane Hall had 17 points and 17 rebounds to lead the team. He struggled from the free-throw line, as did the team, hitting on just 61 percent of their tries (26 of 43). The 43 tries were fifth most in a game in JCHS history. Braxton Blair added 13 points, and Dalton Adkins finished with 11.

Johnson Central led 24-20 at the half and quickly extended its margin to double figures in the third quarter, coming out of the gate to score seven unanswered points to begin the third quarter.

Missed free throws and missed opportunities in transition kept the game manageable for Prestonsburg (14-19).

“I thought we missed a lot of easy shots, and we weren’t able to turn [Prestonsburg] over and get easy, transition baskets,” said McKenzie.

Prestonsburg, the runners-up in the 58th District, cut its margin to eight at 52-44 on a 3-pointer by Bryson Williams with 2:29 left. Williams poured in a game-high 20 points. Dalton Frasure added 15.

Johnson Central will play Pikeville, which beat Pike County Central, on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the semifinals.    

P’BURG    10    11    7    24    —    52

J. CENTRAL    14    11    12    24    —    61

Prestonsburg (52) — Jarredd Jarrell 2 4-6 8; Jarin Hall 0(1) 0-5 3; Bryson Williams 4(2) 6-7 20; B.J. Holiday 1 2-2 4; Dalton Frasure 5 5-8 15; Blake Dean 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13(3) 17-28 52.

Johnson Central (61) — Dalton Adkins 4 3-6 11; Braxton Blair 3 7-9 13; Slade McPeek 2 2-2 6; Truman Salyer 2 2-6 ; Shane Hall 4 9-16 17; Nick McKenzie 1 3-4 5; Kyle Gullett 0(1) 0-0 3. Totals: 16(1) 26-43 61.