The Central High School boys' basketball team's cohesiveness continued to show improvement Tuesday night against Tullahoma. Taking on the rival Wildcats, the Red Raiders returned home to Manchester with a 45-42 victory.
"It's a great win. Any time you come in here and get a win, a rival game, it's a tough place to play," Coach Micah Williams said afterward. "Our guys came to play and found a way to win."
Since falling to Oakland on Dec. 22, the Raiders have now started 2019 with three road wins. Both Tuesday night and last Friday against Lincoln County saw the boys persevere through tight scores to come out on top in the end.
"It's big. We always want to play our best basketball at the right time," Williams continued. "Our schedule is very in our favor. We took these three games in a row and were able to come out 3-0, now we've got that big stretch at home."
After Tullahoma took an early 4-0 lead, Darius Rozier got CHS on the board in the game's second minute. The Raiders pushed their way back in front over the course of the first quarter, with Rozier putting the team in front 7-6 before its close.
The Wildcats pushed back in front early in the second quarter, taking a 15-11 lead with four minutes left in the first half. Not long after, Kyle Farless hit a three pointer to tighten Tullahoma's lead to one point. Rozier and Andrew Mahaffey followed to make it ten straight points and put CHS back on top. By halftime, the Raiders had built up their largest lead so far at 23-18.
Tullahoma kept it close, but the Wildcats were unable to retake the lead over the remainder of the game. Up 35-33 at the close of the third, the Raiders stayed ahead to win by three at the end of regulation.
"Big win, rival game, come in here and get a dub for district, 3-1 in the district, can't be happier," Darius Rozier said. "It means everything to come in here and get a win."
Rozier led the boys with 19 points. Mahaffey ended the night with nine points, followed by Farless with seven. Shawn Anderson finished with four. Harley Hinshaw, Jaxon Vaughn and Rod Brinkley all had two points each.