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Old 02-04-2006, 04:59 AM
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Default Courier & Press -- Mattingly Shows Off His Offensive Ski

http://www.courierpress.com/ecp/high_sc ... 16,00.html

Central High School senior Preston Mattingly will pay an official visit to the University of Tennessee on Sunday.

The question is, will he be there to talk with basketball coach Bruce Pearl or baseball coach Red Delmonico?

Somebody put the question to Mattingly's father, Don, at halftime of the Bears' game against North on Friday night. He grinned and shook his head.

"I thought I had him talked into baseball," said the former New York Yankees first baseman.

But the kid can play basketball, too. And he looked like a basketball player against the Huskies - especially in the first half.

Mattingly scored a career-high 40 points - twice his average - in leading the visiting Bears to their sixth straight victory, 78-61. He had 24 in the first 12 minutes. After a tight first quarter, Central (11-3) pulled away to a 41-26 halftime lead as Mattingly outscored the Huskies by himself in the second quarter, 17-10.

So what will it be, Preston, basketball or baseball?

"I like basketball best," said the 6-foot-3, 200-pound forward, who plays

middle infield and pitches on Central's baseball team and was a wide receiver and safety in football. "But all of the colleges are talking to me about baseball. I think that's my most realistic choice."

He has visited St. John's and plans to look at LSU and Clemson. But right now he's too busy concentrating on basketball to think much about baseball, even after a night like he had Friday.

Asked if he has considered playing both sports in college, Mattingly said, "No, not really. Playing seasons back to back - that would be so hard." As for basketball, Mattingly made the game look easy. He hit 15 of 22 field-goal attempts, including four of five from 3-point range. After the game, he seemed almost embarrassed when someone told him his point total.

"I had 40? ... Well, with Dill out, I know I have to help take up some of the scoring responsibilities," he said, referring to senior guard Ryan Dillman, who is gone for the season due to an injury. "I just happened to hit some shots that first half."

He was 9-for-11 in the first two quarters. Mattingly scored 16 of his team's 23 points during one stretch as the Bears finished off a 21-1 run that gave them a 38-17 lead with four minutes left in the second quarter.

North (7-8) cut the lead to 15 points at halftime but never got closer than 13 the rest of the way.

Senior center Nathan Schumacher added 20 points and 16 rebounds for the Bears, who used 11 players.

"Every player played his role, and that's what makes a team," said Central coach Brent Chitty. "The team rallied around Preston and Nate - they're our senior leaders - but every kid on the team contributed."

Said Mattingly: "They all helped us get the lead; it wasn't just me."
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