There's something to be said for the defensive pressure the Tyner Rams put on Central's basketball team Tuesday night, as for the second straight game they held their opponent to fewer than five points in a quarter.
There's also something that can be added about the pressure Rams guard Sadik Spence put on the Purple Pounders on both ends of the floor all game long.
Led by Spence's triple-double, Tyner won 57-51 over the pesky Pounders to move into a tie for third place in the ultra-competitive District 6-AA.
While Spence sparked the Rams (11-6, 5-4) with 14 points, 11 assists and 12 steals, a big key for them was the ability of the perimeter players to break down the Pounders. Over half of Tyner's points came from layups, with the guards scoring themselves or dishing inside to the post trio of Bristen Bridgeman, Alex Watkins and Devonte Hardwick, who combined for 29 points.
Tyner jumped to a 13-4 lead after a quarter and led 30-17 after a 10-2 run, but the Pounders were celebrating senior night and wouldn't let the Rams stay comfortable.
"We got a little lackadaisical in the second half thinking Central was going to give up, and they did a good job of coming back," Tyner coach Gerald Harris said. "If you get a team down 12, 14 points, you have a couple of possessions to hit the nail in the coffin. We're still allowing teams to play with us."
Central (12-5, 5-4) had won nine of its last 10 games but suffered from the loss of senior David Holley, who averaged 28.5 points in his last two games but hurt his lower back Friday night.
The Pounders outscored Tyner 15-6 in a six-minute stretch in the fourth quarter, capped by a 3-pointer by Dewaun Swafford that cut the lead to 53-48 with 32 seconds remaining. They immediately fouled Spence, who missed the front end of the one-and-one. The ensuing rebound went out of bounds on Tyner, giving the ball back to the Pounders, but they turned it over with a five-second call on the inbounds pass.
Bridgeman then converted a three-point play to put the game away. He finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, while Watkins had four blocks and two steals with eight points.
Central's Swafford had a game-high 24 points, including a shot from beyond halfcourt at the buzzer.
"We didn't get the start we wanted," Central coach Rick Rogers said. "David had 30 in his last game and 27 in the game before that, so getting a goose-egg from him tonight meant we were in trouble.
"Tyner does a good job of exploiting your weaknesses. If there's something you can't do, they're going to take advantage, and they did that tonight."