1. Take care of the ball — Rick Nault calls Putnam the best half-court defensive team he’s seen in years. That means Central must protect the basketball. Nault set the turnover total at 14. Keep it under that, and the Raiders can be there in the end.
2. Slow Putnam down — Attack the basketball and slow down the Beavers’ break. You want to run if you are Central, but the Raiders have to get back in transition and make Putnam play more of a half-court game.
3. Pound it inside — Central has two big post players and Putnam has none. The reigning champs play a speed game. Central has to make them play in the paint. Pound it in to Nick Cambio and Aaron Hall then make sure to hit the glass.
4. One more perimeter scorer — Other than Tyler Nelson, Central will need a guard to step up and provide offense. We’ve seen Kevin Fernandez, A.J. Pettway and Alex Santos do it at times. At least one has to deliver a huge one tonight.
5. Don’t play “not to lose” — Central has to be considered at least a little bit of an underdog. Play like it, carefree with a chip on your shoulders. Play like there is nothing to lose. In other words, just play to win. You just might.