Hayes and McAmis tagged-teamed for baskets and rebounds Tuesday to lead the Warriors (3-0, 1-0) to a 60-44 victory over host John Battle (3-2, 0-1) in the Mountain 7 District boys basketball opener for both squads.
Central held a 24-22 lead at halftime but outscored the Trojans 10-2 over the first three minutes of the third quarter to go up by 10.
The Warriors never lost the lead in the second half.
“We just came out with a little more intensity,” said McAmis, who finished with 21 points and seven rebounds. “We wanted to make sure that we were making them go where we wanted them to go. We had a couple of long rebounds there and some run-outs and Elijah got a couple of dunks and that sort of changed the momentum. It flipped it.”
Hayes led Central with 23 points and 10 rebounds and a couple of second- half dunks.
John Battle cut the lead to 37-33 with 2:34 left in the third on a 3-point shot from Zach Smith. But that was as close as the Trojans could get in the second half.
By the end of the third, Central held a 45-35 lead and stayed out front by double digits the rest of the way.
Warriors coach T.J. McAmis said his team simply got better in shooting the ball during the second half.
“We just missed shots (in the first half). We got good looks, we just missed shots,” the coach noted “We settled down some in the second half and we made the shots we were getting in the first half.”
Smith finished with 20 points and Reed Samuel contributed 18 for John Battle.
LADY WARRIORS RALLY
In the girls’ game, Central (3-2, 1-0) outscored Battle 14-2 in the fourth quarter to take a 37-32, come-from-behind win.
The Lady Warriors trailed by seven, 30-23, after three quarters before staging the rally.
“That was an excellent fourth quarter there,” said Central coach Robin Dotson. “Our guards were playing smart and getting to the basket.
“A couple of sophomores grew up in the fourth quarter tonight.”
Bailey Allison led Central’s balanced scoring attack with 11 points.
“I thought Bailey Allison did a heck of a job. She saved us in the first half with rebounding and scoring,” Dotson noted.
Battle (2-4, 0-1) got a game-high 15 points from Bethany Smith.
Central’s boys and girls teams travel to Orlando, Florida, this week to compete in the KSA Classic tournament Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Battle’s girls are back in action Friday with a trip to Norton to take on J.I. Burton.
Battle’s boys are off until Dec. 26 when they play in the Sullivan North tournament in Kingsport.