Central-Tuscaloosa edged Anniston 39-37 Wednesday night in the Class 5A girls’ semifinal game of the 2016 AHSAA State Finals at the BJCC Legacy Arena and advanced to the state championship game in to face defending state champion Wenonah (32-1).
Coach Michael Rivers’ Falcons (28-5) and Coach Eddie Bullock’s Bulldogs (20-7) battled in the second half with Central taking the lead 36-34 with 2:03 remaining when Traniya Pitts scored on a lay-up, was fouled and sank the free throw to erase a one-point deficit. Shaunterius Stephens sank two free throws with 38 seconds left and Pitts added another free throw with 16 seconds remaining to build a 39-35 lead.
Anniston’s Miajah Bullock canned two free throws with seven seconds remaining to cut the lead to two, and the Bulldogs got s turnover one second later to set up one final play. On the in-bounds pass, however, Pitts, who finished with a game-high 15 points, stole the ball to seal the win. Stephens had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Central.
Cooley led the Bulldogs, who forced 28 Falcons turnovers, with 14 points and three steals. Bullock added 10 points and J’Kyra Clemons cleared 10 rebounds.
Central and Wenonah will play Saturday at 9 a.m. in the 5A championship game at the BJCC Legacy Arena.
The 1A girls’ and boys’ finals will be Thursday at 4 and 5:45 p.m. respectively. Classes 2A, 3A and 4A play girls’ and boys’ championships Friday while the State Finals conclude Saturday with Classes 5A, 6A and 7A championship games.
All semifinal games are being live-streamed by the NFHS Network and broadcast by the AHSAA Radio Network. All championship games will be televised live by Raycom Media. Details are at www.ahsaa.com.