LONDON — Warren Central sophomores George Fant and Jordan Shanklin are projected to be blue-chip basketball talents, but if the Dragons win the 4th Region for the seventh time in eight years, seniors Pete Winn and Scooter Lightfoot will probably be the guys who lead them to Rupp Arena.
Winn and Lightfoot were the ones who sparked a fast start that carried Warren Central to a 79-67 victory over host South Laurel in the Bill Keightley Hoopfest on Saturday.
They combined for 26 points in the first six minutes as the 18th-rated Dragons roared to a 26-8 lead.
South Laurel never recovered.
Never miss a local story.
"Our young kids are really good, but (Winn and Lightfoot) played in the semifinals of the (2007) state tournament," Warren Central Coach Tim Riley said. "They're gonna be the guys to lead us."
Lightfoot hit his first seven shots, including four three-pointers. Winn nailed five of his first six shots, including three threes.
Lightfoot finished with 21 points and Winn with 20. Fant, strong and versatile at 6-foot-7, started slowly but came on strong to get 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Shanklin, a 6-0 guard, did not play because of a leg injury.
South Laurel, which lost to No. 8 Lexington Catholic Friday night, rallied in the second half behind the three-point shooting of Zack Smith. But the Cardinals never got closer than seven.
Smith led the hosts with 23 points and nine rebounds.
Matt St. John, a 6-8 junior center, had 15 points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots.
"You can't get off to that bad of a start against a good team," South Laurel Coach Steve Wright said. "They were on fire early. When that happens, you've got two choices — adjust or get shell-shocked, and we were a little shell-shocked."
The silver lining for the Cards?
"Two nights in a row playing great competition has to help you down the road," Wright said.
No. 3 Holmes 69, Largo, Md. 62: Holmes' 16th consecutive victory didn't come easy against Maryland's defending 3A state champion.
Holmes rallied from a 37-32 halftime deficit behind JaMel Riley, Ricardo Johnson and Elijah Pittman.
Riley, who usually does his damage from the perimeter, effectively drove the lane, as did Johnson. Pittman used his 6-6 frame and long arms to be a force inside on both ends of the floor.
Riley and Pittman had 16 points apiece. Pittman also had six blocked shots and five rebounds. Johnson added 10 points.
Holmes Coach David Henley was pleased with his team's second-half performance, especially considering it hadn't faced a physical, athletic opponent in a while.
The Bulldogs, state runners-up last year, are on quite a roll. Their only loss was to Bryan Station the first week of the season.
Henley said his players are "getting full of themselves, and it's hard not to when you're kids and you're 17-1," Henley said.
How does he keep them grounded?
"If I had the answer to that I'd write a book and retire," Henley said with a laugh.
North Laurel 69, Henry Clay 65: Henry Clay rallied from 18 points down to tie it twice in the closing minutes, but the Blue Devils couldn't complete the comeback.
Down 67-65, Henry Clay's Prince Stewart made a steal, but the Devils missed six shots in the last minute.
North Laurel hit a pair of clinching free throws with four seconds left. Josh Seidel's 26 points and 14 rebounds led the winners.
Stewart led Henry Clay with 23 points and six rebounds.
Warren central 79, south laurel 67
WARREN CENTRAL (16-3) — Fant 22, Lightfoot 21, Winn 20, Jackson 7, Boards 2, Carpenter 2, King 3, Halcomb 2.
SOUTH LAUREL (14-6) — St. John 15, Smith 23, Dean 7, Watkins 8, Gilbert 8, Sizemore 1, Huff 5.
Warren Central 29 19 17 14—79
South Laurel 17 15 22 13—67
holmes 69, largo (md.) 62
LARGO (Md.) (7-6) — Thomas 22, Martin 15, Olumese 4, Miller 8, Lane 5, Richardson 8,
HOLMES (17-1) —Pittman 16, Riley 16, R. Johnson 10, J. Johnson 7, D. Johnson 4, Housley 8, Arnold 8.
Largo 15 22 9 16—62
Holmes 21 11 17 20—69
north Laurel 69, Henry Clay 65
NORTH LAUREL (9-12) — Seidel 26, Shears 15, Creech 2, Baker 10, Wardrup 10, Eversole 6..
HENRY CLAY (12-9) — P. Stewart 23, T.Stewart 2, Barnes 12, Johnson 13, Kimball 6, Nichols 1, Kiesling 6, Wilder 2.
North Laurel 18 22 17 12—69
Henry Clay 14 9 20 22—65