ENGLEWOOD, Tenn. - The McMinn Central boys' basketball team had a rare bad season last year, when the Chargers had a below-.500 record and weren't really a threat in Class AA.
They are doing their best now to show that was the exception and not the rule.
The Chargers had 20 assists and steadily pulled away from visiting Bledsoe County in an 85-67 nondistrict victory Thursday. Three Central players scored in double figures, and two others had nine points.
The Chargers (12-1) led by 11 after two quarters and started the second half with a 17-5 run to stretch the lead to 58-35. They used their depth, playing 10 players to provide fresher legs.
The separation came in the second and third quarters, where the Chargers outscored the Warriors by 20.
"You can go back and look at stats, and it's a different player every night," McMinn Central coach Doug Armstrong said. "I think the guys trust each other to make decisions. I always felt this group of seniors could be a solid squad, and this year they believe in each other, knowing that seven or eight could lead us on any given night."
Tim Webb was the leader Thursday with 26 points. Bradley Ward and Skyler Farrar each had 10, while Josh Scudder and Max Miller had nine apiece.
Bledsoe County dressed eight players and played six in rotation, smarting from injuries and suspension.
The Warriors received all of their offensive production from four players. Jamal Worthington scored 27 points and added eight rebounds, six assists and five steals. Taylor Warden finished with 15 points, Eric Hale had 11 and Blake McCloud tallied 10, but Worthington and McCloud fouled out in the fourth quarter.
"We played good at times, but we have to learn to play through adversity," Bledsoe coach Mark Cagle said. "We get frustrated and we let it affect our play some.
"We're sick and trying to get healthy right now, but McMinn Central's good. They're probably the best team we've played by far this year."