The Wildcats made just four of 31 3-point attempts and shot 28.2 percent overall, and Center Point was efficient, shooting 61.5 percent on 32 fewer shots en route to a 66-50 victory in Jacksonville State University’s Pete Mathews Coliseum.
Center Point (24-7) will play Ramsay (21-12) in Friday’s 5:45 p.m. final. Ramsay beat Columbia 59-55 earlier Tuesday.
Fort Payne finished its season at 17-15, and the Wildcats’ season ended largely because they went 20-for-71 from the field. They lost despite forcing 31 Center Point turnovers in a 32-minute game.
Dale Jackson led the way with 15 points on 5-for-15 shooting.
“We just had trouble scoring,” Fort Payne coach Anthony Reid said. “They’re quick. They’re strong and athletic. We tried to do some screening and couldn’t get open. We tried to do some cuts and couldn’t get open.
“We live and die by the 3-point shot, and they just didn’t fall for us today.”
Center Point, meanwhile, hit 24 of 39 shots. Jeffery Hodge led the way with 19 points, and Shaquille Evans and Montego Hoskins had 12 apiece. Darreyl Purnell chipped in 11.
But the difference was how the Eagles defended the 3-point shot.
“It was going to be very risky, taking our big man, Darreyl Purnell, up from under the goal, so we worked real hard the last few days on defending without the man turning the corner,” Center Point coach Rodney Chatman said. “Defend with your arms and hands up, taking away the ability to shoot.”
Sports Columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter @jmedley_star.