Tigers Defeat Mayflower

By Grant Tolley

Times Record • gtolley@swtimes.com

CHARLESTON – Under the bright lights of the 3A State Tournament, before a packed house of screaming and stomping Charleston fans, Matthew Ward put on a command performance.

Ward poured in a career-high 41 points to lead the Tigers to a 66-57 quarterfinal victory against Mayflower on Monday.

Charleston (30-5) moved to the semifinals and played Benton Harmony Grove Tuesday night.

"(Mayflower) jumped on us early and we had to make things happen," Ward said. "I felt pretty good by about the second quarter, I was hitting my shots so I just kept shooting."

Mayflower led 15-12 at the quarter and 27-22 at the half. But Ward kept hitting shots, pushing Charleston on an 11-1 run in the third quarter to take the momentum.

"It was the biggest game of the season and the biggest crowd of the season and Matthew just played his best game," Charleston coach B.J. Ross said. "The great thing is that every guy in that locker room knew that we needed to get Matthew the ball. These kids have been playing together since they were in about the third grade and they knew what was happening, I never had to say a word."

Ward hit three 3s in the first half and scored 17, but was just heating up. He had 22 by the end of the third and went wild in the fourth quarter with 19 points.

Charleston 66, Mayflower 57

Mayflower 15 12 4 26 — 57

Charleston 12 10 13 31 — 66

Charleston (30-5): Ward 41, Smith 7, Storey 5, Shelby 5, Fenner 4, King 2, Newhart 2.

Mayflower (24-8): Perry 23, Duncan 9, Bailey 8, Burns 5, Long 5, Chamblis 4, Laker 3.