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Warriors dominate Tigers, win title

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

Total domination.

The Centertown Warriors laid waste to the rest of the 7-8 grade elementary league all season. The championship game was no different.

Led by four players in double figures, Centertown walloped Irving College 52-23 to win the title and finish the season unbeaten.

“This is probably the most unselfish team I’ve ever had. If a team focuses on one guy, we have three more who can step up. They like each other, they support each other,” said Warrior coach Rex Crabtree. “The players work hard to get the open shot and they don’t care who the open guy is. They’re all friends, very unselfish and very team oriented.

“We may not have the best individual player in the county, but we have the best team. I’m so proud of them.”

Centertown’s dynamic and democratic offense was on full display in the championship. Point guard Tyler ‘T-Bone’ Adams finished with 14 points, followed by Connor Williams with 13. Sam Rivers and tournament MVP John Porter Prater finished with 11 points apiece.

All took turns getting buckets on the Tigers, who were looking to play Cinderella against the heavy favorites. Irving College looked ready to battle through the first quarter, trailing just 10-7 at the break after a Canaan Parris triple, but it was all Centertown from there.

The Warriors outscored the Tigers 17-0 in the second quarter to take a 20-point halftime lead. By the end of the third quarter, the mercy rule was already enacted and the huge Centertown crowd was merely counting down the seconds to the postgame celebration.

While it was big offensive display by the balanced Warriors in the victory, it was the defense that stuck out to their coach.

“I’m very proud of our guys and our defense. I’m more of a defensive-minded guy – I know that’s not the style now, but we always have the goal of trying to hold an opponent under 30 points. If we do that, we feel like we have a pretty good chance of winning,” said Crabtree.

Irving College never threatened to eclipse 30 points, though Leo Castaneda did get to 12 points with an eight-point fourth quarter. He was one of the primary targets of the Centertown defense, as was Tiger point guard Corban Felton.

Despite scoring just four points, Felton was impressive in the finals. His forays to the rim, ability to break down the Centertown press on his own and pinpoint passing around the hoop and on the wings gives the Tigers hope they can reach the summit next season.

“The biggest success of this season, we were able to build a culture. When you do the right thing, play the right way and act the right way, the game pays you back,” said Tiger coach John Bryan O’Connor. “It rewarded us. We found our way to the championship game. It didn’t fall our way, but because of that culture, our guys know what to expect.

“We’re going to have to work hard. We just had the talk – we want to be back in the game next year and win it.”


Check out the boys 7-8 grade championship game on WCS-TV's YouTube Page


Irving College was in it early, but Centertown’s suffocating defense began making its mark in the second quarter. The Warriors hounded Felton and the Tigers at every turn, getting hands in the passing lanes and harassing ball handlers.

When Irving College turned it over, it was a race to the other end. Adams, Prater and Rivers were winning most of those races and finishing layups as well.

“We battled in the first quarter, but they’re a veteran team and they’re good. The pressure got to us and we threw it to them. When you throw it to them and they go lay it up, there’s no defense for that,” said O’Connor.

Leading 27-7 at halftime, Williams started asserting his dominance in the paint. The burly forward was able to bull his way to the basket on a trio of layups in the third quarter, helping the Warriors build their lead to 30 with less 1:35 left. From there, the clock ran continuously.

By the time the fourth quarter started, the only thing left to be decided seemed to be which Warrior would win MVP. All four made their case.

Williams opened the fourth quarter with a layup, finishing through two Tigers at the rim. Prater followed with a steal and score, then Adams drained a triple. Rivers capped a 9-0 run in the first minute of the fourth quarter by getting a swirling layup to spin in.

In the end, Prater got the MVP and Williams, Adams and Rivers were all named to the all-tournament team. Hayven Jones added two points for the Warriors in the win.

Matthew Roller and Wesley Clendenon had two points each for the Tigers in the finals.

CLICK HERE for Painted Barn Media photos (Championship)

CLICK HERE for Painted Barn Media photos (consolation)

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