Tigers Return Stronger from Oklahoma
The Tigers (10-2) are back in the Natural State and ready for conference play after a solid outing at the Ardmore Chickasaw Nation Holiday Festival Tournament. Before its first out-of-state trip in more than a decade, Central went into the holiday break with more to build on following an impressive win against 6A West power Fayetteville at the John Stanton Classic in Conway. In the first round, Central defeated Putnam City (Oklahoma City), 65-52. The Tigers used a strong 4th quarter to pull away from the Pirates in a tough win to advance to the semifinals. Central fell to Del City, 66-57, snapping the Tigers' five-game win streak. The Tigers bounced back against Palestine (Texas), who came into the tournament with a 15-1 overall record. Central went on to win, 58-51, earning its 10th win of the season and 3rd place in Ardmore, Okla. Senior forward Ray McIntosh was named to the All-Tournament team. Under new head coach Brian Ross, the Tigers have already surpassed the previous season's win total (8) through non-conference play and will look to continue such success in the 6A Central. "It was great for our team to play some top-level competition from outside of the state," Ross said. "I think it really prepared us for conference play." The Tigers' conference opener is Friday, Jan. 4 when Central faces longtime rival and defending state champion North Little Rock (12-3). It will be a showdown between two of the top teams in the state; MaxPreps currently ranks the Charging Wildcats at No. 1 and the Tigers at No. 2 overall. JV boys will begin at 5 p.m., followed by the Lady Tigers and Varsity Tigers.