Holley gives Central winning spark
Fri. February 17, 2012 at 1:00 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
Central’s Toborsha Holley (15) takes a shot between Ciera Smith (24) and Kira Bell (11) of Pleasant Grove during Thursday night’s Class 5A Sub-Regional game at Central High School. Holley scored a season-high 24 points in the Lady Falcons’ win. (Photo by Staff photo | Michelle Lepianka Carter )
TUSCALOOSA | When the Central High School girls basketball team needed points, an assist or a steal, Toborsha Holley delivered.
The junior guard scored a season-best 24 points in leading the Lady Falcons to a 57-48 win over Pleasant Grove in Thursday’s Class 5A Sub-Regional game.
"I was happy for my points," said Holley, who had seven assists and six steals. "It was a win-or-lose battle, and we had to come through."
Holley, usually a shooting guard, switched to the point position to replace Angelica Weatherspoon, who is out with a torn knee ligament.
"I’m not familiar with that position, but I had to come through for the team and break down the defense and get open shots and take care of the ball," Holley said. "I felt good after the game because I knew I did what I had to do."
Kiara Harton had 14 points, five rebounds and four steals as Central improved to 19-8. D’Leisha Dent, who scored nine points, led the Lady Falcons with 19 rebounds and had four steals.
In the first quarter, Holley’s only points came off a steal and layup as Pleasant Grove (19-14) took a 15-10 lead. Central dominated the second quarter and grabbed a 32-21 halftime lead when Latasha Russell beat the final buzzer by banking in a desperation 3-pointer. Russell finished with six points.
The Lady Falcons overcame an 18-13 deficit with a 12-0 run. Harton started it with two free throws. Holley hit a jumper to make it 25-18. Holley scored 11 points in the quarter, six during the run.
"Actually, I’ve been trying to keep the reins on Toborsha because she has a tendency to come down and shoot at will," said Michael Rivers, Central’s first-year head coach. "I told her, ‘Tonight is the night we need you to shoot.’ Once I allowed her to go to shooting, she felt it. She went in rhythm. She took a lot of good shots. She was our most explosive player tonight, playing off the point guard. We needed that scoring because on the wing we weren’t getting that scoring.
"Her all-around game was just fantastic tonight. She was like a one-man wrecking crew out there."
Central led 41-29 at the start of the fourth quarter. The Lady Spartans cut the deficit to seven points twice but couldn’t get any closer. Holley scored the last points by making two free throws with 11 seconds left.
Rickeya Walker and Alexcis Keenan had 13 points each for Pleasant Grove. Arkeria Brown had seven points, and Tiarta Smith scored five.
Rivers said his team will play at noon on Wednesday in the Central Regional at Alabama State University in Montgomery.
"I’m ecstatic," Rivers said. "Words can’t express how I feel, especially having coached these young ladies in middle school, seeing the benefits from there to where we are now, knowing that we’re doing the same thing we did in middle school, playing hard and staying focused. It’s just a reward for hard work."
Reach Andrew Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0223.