With a swarming defense and relentless rebuilding Friday, the Thomas County Central girls basketball team jumped all over visiting Ware County.
The Yellowjackets led by as many as 20 points in the first half on their way to a 60-53 win in the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs. Central advances to the round of 8 where it will face the Effingham County-McIntosh winner.
“It definitely means perseverence is worth it,” Central coach Deatrice Hose said about reaching the state quarterfinals. “It shows we stuck together as a team, and mainly that we kept after it and stayed hungry.”
The Yellowjackets (18-10) certainly were hungry early Friday. Following a Ware County bucket on the game’s first possession by Daejha White, Central took control with an 11-1 run. The scoring spree was sparked by a Erica Harvey 3-pointer and she added four more points in the run, including one on a fourth opportunity as the Jackets attacked the offensive glass, scoring six points off rebounds during the onslaught.
“We’ve been working on that all season to come out fired up defensively,” Hose said. “I’m real proud of the way we played defensively.”
Central didn’t let up, also closing the period on an 8-1 run to lead 19-8 as Chelsea McIntyre and Tytianna Herring both scored on putbacks and Kamaria Lewis hit a pair of buckets to end the period.
The Jackets then used a 14-0 run midway through the second quarter to push its lead to 32-12 on a Kaeci Guyton layup. That followed a 3 from her, again off the offensive glass as Central had 19 second-chance points in the first half, including a putback by Lewis at the buzzer for a 36-20 lead.