Drew Central wins at Lake Village, falls to rival McGehee

In Class 3A, District 8 senior boys’ basketball, six squads play for conference honors. Of all four league divisions (junior girls, junior boys, senior girls and senior boys), that is the most competitive, by far.

After winning their first two 8-3A games, Drew Central ran headlong into the team it’ll likely have to go through for a district title this season—rival McGehee. At least Tuesday night, that result wasn’t pretty.

The Owls defended their home court with a 58-45 victory Pirates, coming from behind to do so. Last Friday, Drew Central claimed a needed 74-68 triumph over Lake Village Lakeside, also on the road.

The first and third quarters of the Drew Central-McGehee contest were evenly fought between the two teams. Alas, the Pirates had to play the second and fourth periods, as well. In those two eight-minute stretches, the Owls doubled up their visitors, outscoring Drew Central by 16 points.  

“We’ve got to learn to get stops at key times,” a disappointed Drew Central boys’ coach C.J. Watson said after Tuesday’s loss left his Pirates at 2-1 in 8-3A and 8-7 for the season. “We also must take good shots at key times.”

Going into the second quarter with a three-point lead at McGehee, the Pirates quickly witnessed a turnaround in fortunes. Their hosts not only improved upon their first-period output by five points but they held Drew Central under 10 points for the entire period.

McGehee assumed command with an 18-9 surge that gave the Owls a lead they would never relinquish. And, after the teams swapped point-for-point in the eight minutes following intermission, McGehee again held the Pirates below the 10-point mark in the final stanza. A 14-point surge assured the Owls of victory in that period.

Sophomore Wooda Bell led Drew Central with 15 points on five made three-point shots—all coming in the first half. Seniors K.J. Griddine and Rashuan Newton followed with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Those three comprised half the Pirates’ scorers on the night as McGehee ramped up its defense on Drew Central.  

Friday, both Griddine and Bell hit or exceeded the 20-point plateau as Drew Central visited Lakeside and came away with a solid six-point victory. That pair represented the only Pirates to score in double figures against the Beavers but with Griddine’s team-high 28 points and Bell’s 20, it was enough.

“We played well in spurts against Lakeside,” Watson noted. “We played a lot better defense in the second half. Wooda Bell stepped up and hit some big shots in the second half. And we got some real good minutes from the bench. It felt good to get out of Lake Village with a win.”

Of the eight made three-pointers the Pirates registered at Lake Village, Bell had four and Griddine had three (Gary Lucas had the other long-range bomb). Behind Griddine and Bell, there was more balanced scoring all they way around for the Pirates against the Beavers.

Drew Central reversed a five-point halftime deficit with a 23-point explosion in the third quarter and sealed the win by outscoring its hosts by four in the final period. Following two road games last week, the Pirates return to Drew Central Gymnasium for their next pair of 8-3A contests.

This Friday, Camden Harmony Grove comes to town for three games. Drew Central’s junior boys—riding a 39-game winning streak and coming off a second straight championship in the Union Bank Drew Central Junior Boys’ Tournament—tip proceedings off at 5 p.m.

Next Tuesday, the Pirates host another rival, Fordyce. Three games (junior girls, senior girls and senior boys) start at 5 p.m. that night as well.

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