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Central Coosa used a big run in the third quarter coupled with a huge scoring night from Noel Jones and Dequalon Thomas to pull away from the Thorsby Rebels to earn a 69-57 win to take the Class 2A Area 8 title Thursday night.

Jones, who was named tournament MVP, finished as the Cougars leading scorer with 26 points that included four 3-pointers. Combined, Jones and Thomas accounted for 49 of the Cougars’ 69 points in the game.

“Noel is one of the best players in 2A and so I know it’s hard to match-up because of his size and strength,” Central Coosa coach Richard Bell said. “I knew at some point in the game, if we kept the game close, he was going to explode like he always does and that’s what he did.”

Jones, along with the entirety of the Cougars, came alive in the second as both teams traded baskets in a wire-to-wire first half.

Thorsby held a slight 11-9 edge at the end of the first quarter, while Central Coosa came back in the second quarter to regain a 22-21 halftime lead.

The third quarter started with fireworks as Central Coosa and Thorsby traded five 3-pointers in a row as both offenses began to heat up.

However, midway through the third quarter is when the Cougars went on a run to help them grab a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Central Coosa went on a 7-0 run that included five points from Quin Brooks and another basket from Jones to extend the Cougars’ lead to 40-29 with 2:43 to go in the third quarter.

Central Coosa outscored Thorsby 27-18 in the third quarter to take a 49-39 lead into the final period. Thirteen of Thorsby’s 18 points in the third quarter came from Tucker Patterson, who finished as the game’s leading scorer with 27 points.

Aside from the big nights from Jones and Thomas, Central Coosa adjusted its defense from man to man to zone to slow down Thorsby in the second half.

“We’re a man-to-man team and that’s a veteran team with a lot of seniors,” Bell said. “We practiced all week about them getting back door and they got a lot of backdoor lay ups in that first half, so we went to the zone to slow them down, which it did. We got in our zone, got some stops, which allowed us to get a lot of fast breaks and that’s what kind of separated the game for us.”

Central Coosa outscored Thorsby 20-18 in the final quarter to get the 12-point win.

Up next, Central Coosa will take on the winner of the Barbour County-Ariton game in the sub-regional round of the AHSAA playoffs.