By David Knox
CLAY – The Center Point Eagles made it difficult for the host Clay-Chalkville Cougars to score Friday night in the Class 6A, Area 12 championship.
The Eagles used size and defense to pull out a 44-34 win. The Eagles will host a subregional game. Clay will travel to play the subregional opener on Tuesday night against an opponent not yet known Friday night.
The Cougars couldn’t manage a field goal until the second quarter, and that was by way of a goaltending call.
The Cougars had some good looks at the basket but couldn’t get much to fall. They trailed 8-1 after a quarter and 10-3 before Anthony Holmes’ layin was swatted away on its downward flight.
Center Point’s 6-foor-4 Darius Curry, the area tourney MVP, meanwhile, was scoring with regularity inside. He made two buckets in succession to push the lead to 14-5 and the Eagles took a 16-10 lead into halftime. Clay had made just three field goals and just 3-of -8 free throws.
Curry added eight more points in the third period as Center Point held a 31-24 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
But the Cougars battled back in the final period, cutting the lead to four after a 3-pointer by Nico Collins and two free-throws by Holmes.
But ill-timed turnovers and missed shots plagued Clay down the stretch and the Cougars could get no closer.
Jalen Jordan scored nine points and Keithan Parker and Holmes scored seven apiece. Curry led Center Point with 17 and Charles Smith added 11, seven in the final period.