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Central Academy boys give NCA a scare

By By Rocky Higginbotham/Special to The Star
Jan. 20, 2002
DECATUR Central Academy's boys have lost 45 of their last 47 basketball games dating back to the 1999-2000 season, but one of the two wins came last month against District 3-A rival Newton County Academy.
The Vikings did their best to repeat the trick here Saturday night at NCA, hitting nine 3-pointers before coming up on the short end of a 55-51 decision. "That's the same thing they did to us (at Macon)," NCA head coach Cliff Stamper said of the Vikings' long-range skills. "When they shoot the ball like that, they're tough."
The nine 3s couldn't keep Central's boys from falling to 1-19 overall and 1-8 in district play. NCA's boys improved to 9-11 and 5-4. Central's girls won the first game of the district twinbill, overcoming 28 turnovers to knock off the host Lady Generals 46-27.
NCA is in action again Tuesday at Leake Academy, while Central Academy's squads host Immanuel Christian Tuesday in Macon.
NCA boys 55
Central 51
Central never led after the game's opening six minutes, and the Vikings trailed by as many as 14 points. But NCA didn't put the game away until Donovan Cooksey hit a pair of free throws with six seconds remaining to make it a two-possession contest.
The Vikings, who play with a four-guard lineup after one post player was injured and another transferred, were out-rebounded 16-3 in the opening quarter alone as NCA eased to a 14-8 lead.
Four 3-pointers in the second quarter by the Generals three of them from David White put Newton ahead by as many as 14 before settling for a 34-26 lead at halftime.
The Vikings scored the first eight points of the third quarter, however, and the battle was on. An old-fashioned three-point play from Craig Giesbrecht and a putback from Ross Brown sparked the CA run, which made it 34-34 at the 5:29 mark.
NCA led 43-40 going into the fourth quarter, and just 47-45 midway through the final period. But a 3 from Wil Bean helped the Generals score six straight points that made it 53-45 with 1:21 left, seemingly wrapping the contest up.
Central wasn't done, however, as Giesbrecht and Tyler Huerkamp each hit 3-pointers in the final minute, pulling the Vikes within 53-51 with 18 seconds left.
Central even had ball possession with a chance to tie after NCA missed a free throw, but after the Vikes failed to convert, Cooksey nailed down the win with his two freebies.
Bean finished with 16 points, 16 rebounds and five assists and White had 14 points and four steals for NCA. Bud Loper had nine points and six rebounds, Jonathan Moore handed out five assists and Chris Bounds had seven rebounds.
Giesbrecht scored 19 points and had six assists for Central, while Huerkamp had 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
Brown scored 11 points to go with seven rebounds and four steals, and Drew Blackwell grabbed nine rebounds.
Central 46
NCA girls 27
In the girls' game, the two teams combined for 55 turnovers and had two players foul out before Central pulled away late for the district win.
The Lady Vikings are 10-16 overall and 5-4 in district action, while Newton County Academy is 5-16 and 2-7.
Three players hit for double figures for Central, led by Leslie Hancock's 11 points, four assists and four steals. Meagan Stokes had 10 points and 14 rebounds, Carrie Coker had 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists, Penny Smith grabbed 10 rebounds and Olivia Reed had eight boards. Central outrebounded NCA 50-32.
The Lady Generals were led by Lindsey Sessions, who had 12 points and nine rebounds off the bench.
Cassie Cleveland scored six points, Casey McMahan had four assists and four steals and Tracy McMahan had seven rebounds.
NCA 6-footer Andi Chesney played just 11 minutes before fouling out and saw just two minutes of action in the second half.
Central led 10-7 after one quarter and 23-17 at halftime, but got a buzzer-beating basket from Lindley Simpson to end the third quarter before opening the final period with a 9-2 run to take command.