The Helena-West Helena Central Cougars (4-0, 2-0) overcame a 10-point deficit in the first half to defeat the Barton Bears (0-1, 0-1) 69-56 in front of a standing-room only crowd at the BHS Gymnasium.

The Helena-West Helena Central Cougars (4-0, 2-0) overcame a 10-point deficit in the first half to defeat the Barton Bears (0-1, 0-1) 69-56 in front of a standing-room only crowd at the BHS Gymnasium.

The Cougars got off to a quick 8-2 lead with 3-point baskets by Michael Boone and Quanderius Sanders, but Barton settled in and cut the lead to 11-10 by the end of the first quarter. The Bears took their first lead with 7:20 to go in the first half when Kyairie Earnest hit a three to make it 13-11 in favor of the Bears. The lead changed hands on the next possession when Job Eaton got a 3-point play the old fashioned way to make it 14-13 in favor of Central with 7:04 to go in the first half.

Barton’s Cameron McMurray hit a three with just over 5:00 left to push the Barton lead to four at 19-15. The Bears would dominate the rest of the first half as they would lead by as many as 10 at 28-18 with 2:25 to go after another basket by McMurray.

Helena-West Helena finally got back on track offensively and cut the lead back to five when Shamarkus Otey hit a three with 1:14 to go before the intermission. Barton would get one more score before the break and the BHS Gym was rocking for the home fans with Barton ahead 32-25.

The Cougars quickly reasserted control in the second half. Coach Willie Jackson switched from a man-to-man defense to a 1-3-1 zone and Barton had to answer. CHS got a three from Sanders immediately out of the locker room, which sparked a 16-3 run for the Cougars. When Eaton scored with 3:39 to go in the third, the Cougars were ahead 41-35 and would never trail again.

Helena-West Helena pushed the lead to as many as 13 points when Otey scored with 1:44 to go in the third. At the end of the quarter, Central got a put-back by Justin Redmond to make it 53-41 heading into the final stanza.

The Bears would make one more run at CHS. Earnest got a basket and one with 4:01 to go in the fourth quarter to cut the Helena-West Helena lead to three at 57-54. The Bears would only score two points the rest of the way as the Cougars got points from Sanders and Redmon to finish the game on a 12-2 run.

Sanders led the way for the Cougars with 26 points. Eaton had 16. Boone and Otey added 8 a piece.

The Lady Cougars (4-0, 2-0) had no trouble with the Lady Bears. The CHS defense held Barton scoreless for three minutes as Helena-West Helena built an 18-4 lead at the end of the opening period.

It was more of the same in the second quarter as Barton could manage only two points and the Lady Cougars’ Tara Green imposed her will in the paint. When the teams went to the locker room, Central led by 30 and Green had 20 points alone. Barton trailed 36-6.

The two teams agreed to a running clock the entire second half and Helena-West Helena cruised to a 51-12 victory. Green led Central with 22 points. Kerra Trancy and J’Tyia Thomas had 11 each.

In the Jr. Boys game, Central opened up the game with a 12-2 lead at the end of the first. The Cats would never trail as they led 27-12 at the half and won 55-32. Jakylon Cole led Helena-West Helena with 16 points Jermaine Williams had 11.