Annor Boateng took the lead roll in Little Rock Central's season opener 12 days ago. On Tuesday night, it was Gavin Snyder's turn.
The junior guard had 20 points and came up with five steals to drive the Tigers to a decisive 67-37 victory over Mills at Boone-Fitzpatrick Fieldhouse.
Snyder also had five rebounds and four assists for Central (2-0), which got contributions up and down its roster for the second game in a row. Ten players scored for the Tigers, with five of them netting at least six points. Also, four players had at least four rebounds and three grabbed at least two steals apiece.
Boateng, who had 32 points in Central's 83-64 win over White Hall on Nov. 18, did have his usual impact for the Tigers, finishing with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals. The 6-6 sophomore didn't have to carry the load, though, because he had plenty of help.
"I think we've had six or seven different guys score in double figures through three games, if you count the exhibition game," Central Coach Brian Ross said. "I doubt there's very many teams in the state that have already had that many different guys do it. Gavin did his thing for sure.
"We're getting six, seven, nine from other guys, and that's big for us."
Cody Robinson added nine points and Kwame Boateng had seven points for the Tigers, who outrebounded Mills (0-2) 33-19 and shot 20 of 47 (42.5%). The Comets also committed 18 turnovers, most of which came at the most inopportune of times.
But the biggest obstacle Mills faced was its inability to score. The Comets were 15 of 45 (33.3%), including 2 of 5 in the fourth quarter. The 37 points was the team's lowest total in a regular-season game since 2013 when they scored 39 in a 34-point loss to North Little Rock.
It didn't take long for Mills Coach Raymond Cooper to point out why his team struggled. For him, there was a simple explanation, and he admitted he could see it coming long before the game ever tipped off.
"This team does not listen," he said. "They don't listen in practice, they're hard-headed and they can't play very good. The only chance they'll have to win games is to listen and to buy into the system. Either we're going to get them to buy in or we're going to get some guys out, one of the two.
"I knew this was going to happen just based off how they've been practicing. We've got a lot of guys right now that are on suspension because they don't believe we'll play without them. Guys are going to play hard and do what we ask them to do and play right. ... we just don't know who those guys will be yet."
Keaton Cross scored a team-high 14 points for Mills, which trailed 30-18 at halftime. Cross hit the first bucket of the third quarter before Central went on an 18-5 run, with Snyder scoring 10. He would later hit a short runner with less than 10 seconds remaining in the quarter to give the Tigers a commanding 54-29 cushion.
"But the thing is that I told them, you're going to get three minutes, everybody is going to play defense, and then we'll sub," Ross said. "They're full of alertness, full of energy when they're in there. And that's the kind of effort we want to see, and that's the kind of effort we're getting."
LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL 70, MILLS 13
Ava Walker scored 13 points for Central (5-1), which scored 36 of the game's first 40 points and was never in any serious trouble.
Lillian Jackson had 10 points, 4 blocks and 4 steals, while both Jordan Marshall and Makayla Linwood had eight points. The Lady Tigers, who led 30-9 at halftime, held the Lady Comets to two field goals in the second half.
Alayzah Foster scored nine points for Mills (0-3), which was dominated on the glass (31-11) and turned the ball over 31 times.