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Breakout season continues for TC Central senior in victory over Winterboro

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TC Central senior Amiya Sillmon finished with 11 points, five rebounds, three blocks and a steal in Friday night's 47-15 victory over Winterboro.

Talladega County Central senior Amiya Sillmon might have looked frustrated out on the basketball court in past seasons, but not anymore. Now, Sillmon’s face has only room for a smile.

“It’s just (me) getting more comfortable with my game,” Sillmon said. “I know that I put in the work, so there is no thinking about if I can do this because I know I can.”

That confidence was on full display during Friday night’s 47-15 win over Winterboro. Sillmon finished the game with 11 points, five rebounds, three blocks and a steal.

Sillmon’s breakout season is perhaps the biggest reason TC Central (17-3) checks in at No. 3 in the latest Alabama Sports Writers Association rankings, but the senior isn’t ready to stop there. Both her coach, Ebonie Ferguson, and Sillmon’s performance on Friday reflect a girl continuing to improve.

“We move her around, we put her in different spots,” Ferguson said. “It may be occasions where she actually brings the ball down the floor. So she can do anything that we need like Faith (Johnson).”

Speaking of TC Central’s superstar, Johnson scored 11 of her game-high 18 points in the opening quarter. She also recorded four assists and four steals in limited minutes.

As usual Johnson made pretty much everything she did look effortless on Friday night. 

“She is a great playmaker, and she can score at will, but even though she can do that, she takes the initiative to get her teammates the ball,” Sillmon said.

In the past, opposing teams have focused a lot of attention on Johnson. That’s sure to be the case moving forward, especially next week when TC Central will attempt to run the table in the Talladega County Tournament as the No. 1 seed. However, if Friday’s game is any indication, the Fighting Tigers will no longer have to rely quite so heavily on Johnson and Sillmon when it comes to points, rebounds and just overall production.

“Any night, it can be any one of them that steps up and that is going to score for us,” Ferguson said of the team’s other players. “They may get rebounds, they may get to the free-throw line. Any night it might be anybody. We already know the focus is going to be on Amiya and Faith, so those other three are always ready to step up, whoever it may be on the court.”

What to know

— Three other TC Central players scored on Friday night, including Icelynn Gooden, who finished with nine points.

— Winterboro fielded a reduced squad on Friday night as multiple players were missing for undisclosed reasons. Among them was eighth-grader Katelyn Brown, who scored 35 points against the Fighting Tigers earlier this season. Her older sister Kya Brown, a third-team all-state, was also missing after she suffered a season-ending ACL tear in recent weeks.

— The Bulldogs also missed the older Brown sister when TC Central won the first matchup 65-45 on Dec. 16.

— Eighth-grader Katelyn Jones led the Bulldogs with 11 of her team’s points. It was clear from the opening minutes, TC Central planned to keep Jones from getting anywhere near the basket, and the Fighting Tigers mostly succeeded.

Who said

— Ferguson on the growth of her team this season: “For me, it is all about winning. So I think we’re all on the same page with me being in my second year. So it is being comfortable, everybody is being comfortable with the system that we’re running.”

Next up

— TC Central (18-4) hosts Lincoln Saturday at 3 p.m. After that, the Fighting Tigers will turn their attention fully to the Talladega County Tournament taking place next week.

Winterboro will travel to take on Childersburg Saturday at 1 p.m.

Sports Writer Tyler Waldrep: 256-299-2133. On Twitter: @tylerwaldrep