CENTRAL — During his 26-year coaching tenure Denham Springs’ Wynn Wingate said he hadn’t witnessed anything like it, while his counterpart Ron Lewis of Central patiently waited this season for it to transpire.
The sequence in question — a seven-minute stretch of Tuesday’s third quarter between the two District 4-5A rivals — left Wingate bewildered and Lewis beaming.
With near pinpoint accuracy from the field, Central wiped out a 13-point halftime deficit over the first four minutes of the third quarter and promptly raced away to a 70-59 victory over Denham Springs.
“I’ve never been part of anything like that where a team just comes out and can make everything,” said Wingate, still shaking his head afterward.
Central (8-5, 1-1) made 11 consecutive shots, including a trio of 3-pointers, that turned a 32-19 deficit into a 44-44 tie before Terrell Chatman ended the quarter with another trey for a 48-46 lead.
The Wildcats, which finished 12-for-15 from the field in the third quarter, took their first lead of the game at 38-37 at the 3:57 mark on Kevin Henry’s driving lay-in and outscored the Yellow Jackets, 29-14.
“I hadn’t seen that with this team but this is a new team from last year,” Lewis said. “They showed a lot of mental toughness. There’s going to be lulls in the game. We had to be able to sustain that and keep ourselves in striking distance and when we got our flow going, we can shoot the ball pretty well.”
Central, which had failed to score more than 60 points in 10 of its games, kept its foot on the gas pedal with 10 straight points to open the fourth quarter, stretching its lead to 58-46 on Titus Woodfork’s 10-foot jumper.
From the point late in the second quarter where the Wildcats trailed 32-17, they outscored the Jackets 39-14 over a 13-minute span where they made 77 percent of their shots.
Woodfork led all scorers with 18 of his game-high 21 points coming in the second half. Henry added 14, while Chatman had 13 and Austin Stewart 10.
“This is what we all know we’re capable of,” said Lewis, whose team shot 74 percent (20 of 27) in the second half and outscored DHS 50-27. “The second half, once they started making shots, they started feeling good and in turn got the defense going, got some turnovers and some easy layups.”
Zach Davidson led DSHS with 24 points, while Torez Kinchen added 18. The tandem combined for 27 first-half points when Kinchen drained all four of 3-pointers and Altoris Odom’s two free throws resulted in a 32-17 lead just before half.
DSHS (16-5, 2-1) had its seven-game win streak snapped and lost its share of the district lead with Scotlandville, which it hosts Friday.
“There wasn’t a whole lot we could do about it,” Wingate said. “Every shot they shot, they made it in the second half it seemed like it. There weren’t a whole lot of defensive rebounds to get because they made everything they threw up. They deserved to win tonight.”