After clinching a berth in the Region 3-AA tournament with Friday’s 15-point win at East Hamilton, Chattanooga Central had its sights set on securing a spot in the District 6-AA finals in Saturday’s semifinal matchup with top-seeded Howard.
The Hustlin’ Tigers (22-5), however, were looking for the same thing, and there was little the Purple Pounders could do to stop them.
They definitely couldn’t stop 6-8 senior Brandon Walters, who scored 21 of his game-high 25 points in the first two quarters, helping Howard build a 34-15 advantage at the break before rolling to a 71-44 victory at Hixson High School.
“We knew coming in we had to control the big man,” Central head coach Richard Rogers said. “He had 21 points in the first half. We don’t have a stop for him. Everybody else in town we can compete with and contain; we can’t contain him. He’s too much.”
Walters scored just four points in the second half, but that’s when Rashad Brummitt and Shalique Cameron took over for the Hustlin’ Tigers.
The two combined for 17 of the team’s 24 third-quarter points as Howard extended its lead to 58-27 after three periods.
“If we move the ball around and move it from side to side, the defense can’t move as fast as that ball and somebody’s going to be out of position,” Howard coach Walter McGary said.
Cameron, who finished with 14 points, knocked down three of his four 3-pointers in the third quarter, while Brummitt added a dozen in the second half.
Central (15-9), which split its regular-season meetings with Howard, won the final quarter 17-13, but only because Howard pumped the breaks.
“I don’t believe in embarrassing teams,” McGary said. “I don’t believe in trying to run 100 points on someone to get a point across. I would never do that.”
Brian Billingsley led the Purple Pounders with 10 points—seven in the final period—while David Holley and Terry Tiller each added nine.
Howard will take on third-seeded Brainerd in Tuesday’s district title game (7:45 p.m.), while Central faces No. 2 Tyner in Monday evening’s (7:45) consolation game.
District 6-AA Tournament
No. 1 Howard 72, No. 8 Red Bank 52
No. 2 Tyner 78, No. 7 Hixson 45
No. 3 Brainerd 63, No. 6 East Ridge 54
No. 5 Central 57, No. 4 East Hamilton 42
No. 1 Howard 77, No. 5 Central 41
No. 3 Brainerd 66, No. 2 Tyner 63
Consolation Game • Monday, 7:45 p.m.
No. 2 Tyner vs. No. 5 Central
Championship • Tuesday, 7:45 p.m.
No. 1 Howard vs. No. 3 Brainerd