Senior Josh Veals will help lead Central this season
Veals was also a key in the Wildcats 11-2 football season
Special to The Advocate
CENTRAL — If the Central Wildcats had their minds on the Superdome instead of a basketball tournament, it didn’t show Thursday night.
Four of the Central starting five were prominent members of the Wildcats football team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs last month. Thursday, they helped Central move into the quarterfinals of the Charles T. Kinsley memorial basketball tournament with a 73-52 win over Tara.
Also moving into the quarterfinals were Natchitoches Central, a 63-40 winner over Denham Springs, and Destrehan, which cruised past Belaire 63-37.
In the losers bracket, Broadmoor edged St. Michael 49-47.
Central (4-2) was led by Wes Briscoe, who canned four 3-pointers and finished with 19 points. Brock Poydras had 15 for the Wildcats, who made nine 3-pointers as a team.
The Wildcats also got nine points from Josh Veals, seven from Jae Cutno and six from Will Briscoe, all familiar names to Wildcats football fans.
“It’s going good,” Central coach Sid Edwards said. “We’ve had two practices, and then we’re jumping into a long tournament. It will come together.
“The energy is there but the smoothness is not. We’re rough around the edges, but the kids are having a good time and playing hard. It’s a good start.”
Central led Tara (5-5) 34-23 at halftime, but the Trojans opened the third quarter with a 7-2 run to pull within 36-30. Joseph Kirk, who led Tara with 15 points, had basket and a free throw to start the run.
Sam Harrison’s fast-break basket pulled the Trojans within six, but it was as close as they could get. Veals, Micah Tossas and Wes Briscoe each had baskets as the Wildcats moved in front 42-32.
Wes Briscoe then heated up from the outside hitting three long-range 3-pointers in the last 3:32 of the quarter. His first 3-pointer pushed the CHS lead to 45-34. The second made it 51-37 with less than two minutes left.
His third 3-pointer, with 23 seconds left in the quarter, gave the Wildcats a 54-39 cushion heading into the fourth quarter.
Tara scored first to start the fourth quarter, but could get no closer than 15 points the rest of the game.
“That was a big win tonight against a good team,” Edwards said. “It’s easy to sit there and see what’s wrong, but, again, we’ve had just two practices (since football ended). We’ll correct things, and hopefully get a little better.”
Central used a hot streak from Poydras to move in front in the first quarter. Keith Broom scored off an assist from Kirk to give Tara its only lead at 4-2. Wes Briscoe hit a 3-pointer, and Poydras added three more before the end of the quarter.
By the time Poydras nailed his third 3-pointer, all of which came from the top of the key, Central led 16-10 with less than two minutes left. Central led 19-12 heading into the second quarter.
Central built a 30-16 lead midway through the second, but Tara battled back with a 7-0 run capped by Sam Floyd’s inside basket off an assist from Tyrred Nelson. Veals and Poydras each had baskets as Central took a 34-23 lead at halftime.
Natchitoches Central led Denham Springs 30-22 at halftime, and stretched the lead to 48-36 after three. The Yellow Jackets managed just four free throws in the fourth quarter as Natchitoches Central steadily increased its lead en route to a 63-40 win.
Natchitoches coach Micah Coleman said he was pleased with the way his team communicated on the floor.
“Teamwise, that’s the most we’ve talked all year,” Coleman said. “Denham Springs is a very good team, and to execute the way we did was a direct result of the way we communicated. We’ve been preaching that all year, and it seemed like it all clicked tonight.”
Courtesy of the Advocate