Photo: Karl L. Moore Central's E-man Westmoreland (15) drives in off the baseline for the layup in front of Collins Hill's Johncarlos Reyes (42) and Devin Mitchell (23) in Tuesday's game at Collins Hll.
SUWANEE -- Collins Hills' boys basketball team may have started last season 0-8, but the Eagles made sure this year's campaign won't be a repeat of that.
The Eagles (1-0) had four starters in double figures and outlasted Central Gwinnett for an 81-76 win in overtime Tuesday night.
"We started the same way last year when we lost in overtime," Collins Hill head coach Eric Nathan said. "It feels much better to be on this side of the score."
Collins Hill's Darius Joell, who transferred from Central, led all players with 28 points.
Joell helped the Eagles get off to a fast start as Collins Hill hit its first four shots to open up an 11-0 lead. Joell, who finished with 15 in the first quarter, scored eight of those.
Devin Mitchell, who added 22 points, six assists and five rebounds for the Eagles, recorded 11 of those points in the first period as the Eagles opened up a 28-11 lead by period's end.
But Central (0-1) didn't panic and began to steadily pull back, getting to within eight points at the half at 43-31.
Central finally caught up with Collins Hill at 52-52 late in the third, but a 7-0 run to end the quarter put the Eagles back in front at 59-52.
"We gave (Collins Hill) some runs early but did a good job of getting back in it by not letting them go on any others without us answering," Central head coach David Allen said. "Collins Hill shot well but I'm proud of how our guys fought back. We'll be all right."
Central would again tie the score in the fourth at 68-68 with 1:46 left off a basket by Brian Egejuru, who finished with 15 points and seven assists.
That basket was followed by a steal from Shaun Jones, who was fouled while attempting the breakaway layup. Mitchell was called for an intentional foul on the play, sending Jones to the line for two and giving Central possession.
Jones, who led Central with 26 points, hit both free throws to give Central its first lead, but the Collins Hill defense came up on the next possession and forced a missed shot.
Joell stepped up and hit a 3-pointer to put Collins Hill up 71-70 with 47 seconds, but Eman Westmoreland put the Black Knights back in front at 73-71 with 16.1 seconds left with his sixth trey of the night. Westmoreland came off the bench to score 18.
With two seconds left, Pierre Richardson hit a shot in the lane to send the game into overtime, where Collins Hill outscored Central 8-3 for the season-opening win.
"Central came out and hit us hard in the second half," Nathan said. "They were a tough match up for us and really spread us out. Hats off to them for not giving up."
Johncarlos Reyes added 14 points and seven boards for Collins Hill, while Eric Ambrosio finished with 10 points and three assists.
Central also received 10 points from Justin Martin.
Collins Hill girls 49, Central 44
Collins Hill received 19 points and eight rebounds from Marissa Bayer as the Eagles opened with a 49-44 win over Central.
Brea'ana Singleton also added eight points with four rebounds, while Julianne Bayer finished with eight points and six boards for the Eagles (1-0).
Central (0-1) was led by 11 points from Carol Reynolds and eight points from Alexandra Frazier.