The trio came up clutch down the stretch to lead the Warriors to a 52-48 Mountain 7 District road win over Union (11-10, 7-4).
The victory was the first time in school history that Central (13-8, 6-5) defeated Union on the Bears’ home court.
View the photo gallery from Tuesday’s games
“It’s hard to beat Union down here,” Central coach T.J McAmis said after watching his Warriors win a game that was close from start to finish.
The season, like Tuesday’s game, has been up and down for his squad, McAmis said.
“We knew we were going to be in for a roller-coaster year,” the coach said. “These guys are trying to find who’s a leader. These guys are trying to find out who’s a leader and, in some games, they step up and some games they don’t.
“We’re going to keep working and take it one game at a time and if we continue to do that, we’re going make some waves here at the end because we’ve got a lot of talent.”
FIGHT TO THE FINISH
The game was tied at halftime and after the third quarter.
It stayed close through the final period.
Union took a one-point lead on a basket from Alex Rasnick and then moved ahead 46-43 when Rasnick hit two free throws with 4:11 to play.
Central tied the game at 46 on a basket from Vanover with 2:18 left. A minute later, Hayes’ shot put the Warriors up 48-46.
After a Union turnover, Stallard hit two free throws to give Central a 50-46 lead with 28 seconds left to play.
Union got a basket from Rasnick with 18 seconds left to cut the lead to 50-48 before Vanover sealed the win with two more free throws just seconds later.
Vanover led Central with 15 points and Brickey added 10.
Rasnick and Noah Garrison led Union with 11 points each. Andy Jones and Justin Falin finished with 10 apiece.
LADY WARRIORS WIN AGAIN
In the girls’ game, Central (17-4, 10-1) came from behind for a 48-42 win over Union (12-8, 3-8), setting the stage for claiming another district title.
The two-time defending Class 2 champions can take the district title with a win at Abingdon on Thursday.
If the Lady Falcons win, they and Central would be district co-champs and have to play a tiebreaking game, likely Saturday, to determine the top seed and host for the Mountain 7 semifinals and final.
With her team trailing 25-20 at the break, Dee Cvetnich led the Lady Warriors on a second-half charge. The senior, who was limited to two points and seven rebounds in the first half, finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds.
“When we got her the ball, their length bothered us. But, you know, their length bothers a lot of people inside,” said Central coach Robin Dotson. “Credit to my kids. They kept believing. They kept plugging along. Sometimes you have to win ugly and that’s what it was. It was an ugly win.”
Olivia Mullins scored 13 for the Lady Warriors.
Jayda Smith scored the first 16 points of the game for the Lady Bears but was held scoreless over the final six minutes of the second quarter and the entire second half.
Emili Brooks totaled 13 points for Union.