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Hot outside shooting carries Central to win over Providence

Central Gwinnett guard Eman Westmoreland (15) attempts to block the shot of Providence Christian's Kareem Adekunle (1) during the Jared Cook Tournament at North Gwinnett Tuesday night.

Central Gwinnett guard Eman Westmoreland (15) attempts to block the shot of Providence Christian's Kareem Adekunle (1) during the Jared Cook Tournament at North Gwinnett Tuesday night.

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Photo: Brian Kamer Providence Christian's Nate Bucher (14) shoots over Central Gwinnett forward Justin Martin (20) during the Jared Cook Tournament at North Gwinnett Tuesday night.

SUWANEE -- Eman Westmoreland is more noted for his accuracy in football as the quarterback in Central Gwinnett's wide-open spread offense. But the junior is pretty good shooting a basketball, too.

Westmoreland hit three of Central's 10 3-pointers and the Black Knights defeated Providence Christian 68-56 in the opening round of the Jared Cook Holiday Classic on Tuesday at North Gwinnett.

"We've been shooting the ball a lot better the last two or three games," Central coach David Allen said. "Eman has his legs back after football and he's a big part of that."

Providence hit seven 3-pointers and Nate Bucher scored a game-high 23 points, but that wasn't enough as Central (7-2) advanced to a meeting with Chapel Hill in the semifinals at 5 p.m. today.

It could be a real shootout.

Chapel Hill (5-3) edged Mercer Island of Washington 61-59 on Jordan Jacks' long 3-pointer from the top of the key with 10.1 seconds remaining. It was the fourth 3-pointer for Jacks, who scored 34 points.

Westmoreland finished with 16 points and Brian Egejuru, who hit three shots from behind the arc, scored 13. Darius Joell and Shaun Jones each added 12 points.

Central took advantage of a technical foul on Providence coach Ivan Iverson to score seven points without surrendering the ball and turned a 23-22 led with three minutes gone in the second quarter into a 33-22 edge.

Iverson argued a foul call that had sent Jones to the line and Jones made four straight foul shots before Westmoreland drained a 3-pointer.

Westmoreland had nine points in the quarter, including two of Central's six first-half 3-pointers, and the Black Knights led 35-28 at intermission after being up just 18-16 at the end of the first quarter.

Providence (4-4) had five 3-pointers in the first half. Bucher had two of them en route to 13 first-half points.

Down 50-40 after three quarters, the Class A Stars briefly cut the lead to six points. But they couldn't get any closer against the Class AAAAA Knights.

Nikko Cormier scored 13 points for Providence and Charlie Scott contributed 10.

A moment of silence was observed before the game for former Central player Jerry Coleman, who died suddenly Monday morning.

"I think it was probably good for us to get back on the court," Allen said. "It has been a very difficult couple of days."

Mercer Island had a chance to force overtime against Chapel Hill when Brian Miller was fouled with less than a second remaining. But Miller clanked the first of two shots and the clock ran out after he missed the second intentionally.

The Seattle school trailed by five points midway in the fourth quarter, but took the lead at 59-58 on Joe Rasmussen's two foul shots with 42.7 seconds left.

Rasmussen had 20 points to lead Mercer Island (5-2) and Miller scored 10. Devon Moore scored 17 to back Jacks for Chapel Hill.

Mercer Island, 21-6 last season and a state tournament team in Washington, will play Providence in a consolation game today at 10:35 a.m.