Yellow Jackets sting Cairo on the hardwood

Jan. 17—THOMASVILLE — On Tuesday night the Syrupmakers made the 30-minute trip to Thomasville to take on the Yellow Jackets on the court.

The ladies got things started as Thomas County Central put on a show against the Syrupmaids. The Lady Jackets stung early, scoring inside and quickly building a 10-4 lead. Central couldn't seem to miss a shot inside and Tia Floyd showed off her midrange game, knocking down a ten-footer. But, it was Marcy Pearson who was leading the charge for the Jackets. She knocked down a three to start the second quarter and secured a steal at half-court for an easy layup. Later in the game, Pearson grabbed a chase-down steal and took it coast to coast, finding an open teammate under the basket and making an incredible pass. Floyd knocked down another three and just like that, Central was up 31-6.

Central's defense was totally and completely disruptive. Cairo was slow on the ball and was given no room to set things up as Central took away every option.

Headed into halftime, Cairo had scored just four points in each of the first two quarters and were down 36-8 to Central.

Cairo's offense picked up in the second half with a three from Ty'yanna King giving them a spark. But, Central wasn't going away and wasn't slowing down, knocking down a three to increase the lead and locking down on defense. The Lady Jackets locked in on a full-court press and a double-team defense to shut Cairo down.

Pearson continued her excellence with another steal that led to an assist and followed that up with a three to end the third quarter.

The subs entered the game for Central for the fourth quarter and the Lady Jackets took the big win, 65-23. With the victory, the Lady Jackets improved to 13-2 on the season.

The boys' game wasn't a blowout and was definitely entertaining. Central came out with a laser-like shot as Chris Williams, Mantrel Mosley, and Decameron Duncan knocked down triples to start the game. The Jackets led 9-1, but Cairo was able to get their offense going off the back of an and-one opportunity from Davion Tarver. Big man Amari Powell knocked down a three to end the quarter and Central led 14-8.

Just a week ago, Cairo head coach JJ Cooper said that their goal is to get senior Amari Powell to 1,000 career points. They made a dent in this game as Powell took over in the second quarter. He started the second frame with a monster jam following his three to end the first. Powell also showed off his defensive prowess with a huge block on the other end.

Central, however, continued to knock down their shots. Duncan got the fans on their feet with an and-one opportunity and the Jackets followed that up with a three to build their lead back up to 11. Cairo did end the quarter well. Jykortnee Brown drained a three and KJ Spence executed an incredibly athletic layup to end the half down 25-17.

Cairo stormed out in the second half, quickly taking a 26-25 lead off the scoring prowess of Powell and Spence. Both Syrupmakers were knocking down threes, playing stellar defense, and out-rebounding Central.

Central then turned around and started firing away from beyond the arc. Williams drained a three to stop the bleeding for Central and Duncan followed that up with another three. Williams took the ball down the floor and hit another triple to tie the game at 33.

Cairo and Central went back and forth in the closing minutes of the quarter, but Spence hit a buzzer-beating layup to the Syrupmakers fans' delight and sent Cairo into the final frame up by four, 39-35.

Powell and Spence tried their best to maintain the Syrupmakers lead, but in the end, the Yellow Jackets stormed back into the fold and, behind stellar shooting and tough defense, held off Cairo for a one-point victory, 55-54.

Next, Thomas County Central will head to Lee County on January 20, while the Syrupmakers will host Spencer that same afternoon.