Things are starting to fall into place for the North Central girls' basketball team. And with the state playoffs looming around the bend, the Lady Knights' timing could not be any better.
When Lewisville forward and South Carolina State signee Cortell Busby picked up his second foul less than two minutes into Tuesday's game at North Central, he put himself on the bench and out of the game. When he was tagged with his third personal in the waning seconds of the first half, it meant more bench time fors the Lions' leading scorer.
Knowing they had a six-point forfeit in their back pocket in the final match of last week's pairing with visiting Camden, the North Central High wrestling team received a clinching pin from Brandon Small at 119 pounds to put the hosts over the top and secure a 42-36 victory over the visiting Bulldogs.
Fielding a team which is consistently inconsistent is a coach's nightmare.
It was a perfect ending to an imperfect game.
Ready to stick with a 2-3 zone defense which caused visiting Cardinal Newman troubles in the first half, North Central's best-laid defensive plans were thrown out with the bath water in a sloppy second half stretch.
Progress, like beauty, is sometimes in the eye of the beholder.
Taking a loss here or there to set things up to give his team its best chance for a win, first-year North Central wrestling coach Britt Gardner saw his bit of a gamble pay off on Tuesday night.
As luck would have it, Katie Bradley's 12-foot jumper came after the horn signaling the end of the first half had sounded.
Well before his team headed to the locker room to dress for Tuesday's game with the visiting Governor's School for Science and Mathematics, North Central boys' basketball coach Chad Dixon passed along this message, "We're not going to win 100 to 40 this time," he said.
Two points of emphasis for the North Central boys' basketball team coming into this season have been playing hard and working hard. Those themes have been stressed throughout pre-season by Knights' head coach Chad Dixon.
The North Central boys basketball team rebounded from Saturday's loss to Lakewood to beat rival Andrew Jackson in Monday night's second round of the Buford Invitational pre-season basketball tournament being played in Lancaster County.
Heading into Saturday's class A state boys and girls state cross country championship meets at Clemson's Sandhills Research Center in northeast Columbia, North Central head coach Chad Dixon knew his teams had the decks stacked against them.
It's already looking like a good 2011 for the 2010 North Central football program.
There is little chance that even with a win over visiting C.A. Johnson tonight, that North Central can earn a berth in next week's first round of the class A playoffs. That does not mean, however, that the season finale is a throwaway game.
If imitation is, indeed, the sincerest form of flattery, North Central's offense could see pressure coming from all across the field from the Timmonsville defense tonight when the nights make the trip to the Pee Dee for their second game of the season.
If this is how North Central plays when it is jittery, just think of what the Lady Knight volleyball team will do once it settles down.
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