Words: Josh Horen
The Centennial Eagle’s Boys’ Varsity basketball team is now over .500 with a huge home win last night against the Marriotts Ridge Mustangs. An extremely slow start led to a very disciplined and complete finish for the Eagles as they beat the Mustangs 57-48.
Within the first three minutes of the ball game, the Mustangs jumped out to an early 8-0 lead.
The Eagles offense was completely stagnant despite the plethora of opportunities. They just could not get the ball to fall for them early in the game.
With 2:13 remaining in the first quarter, Centennial finally got on the scoreboard with a three-pointer made by Junior Stafford Smith.
The score at the conclusion of the first quarter was a shockingly low, 8-4, with the Mustangs holding a four-point advantage.
Both offenses were not capitalizing on good chances. Senior Hayden Ford was drawing a foul just about every time he set up in the low-post. He got good looks, but him and just about everybody else struggled in the first quarter.
The game started to take some shape in the second quarter however.
The Mustangs started the quarter off with a quick lay-up, which was answered by a pair of free throws and then a three-pointer by Senior Andrew Hohmann.
Early in the second quarter the Eagles switched to a 2-3 zone and that is when they really started to turn their defensive play into offense. They were creating turnovers and scoring off of them, which is something that gets the whole team into it and involved.
After a basket made by Ford, the Eagles had their first lead of the game, they turned that into a 6-0 run to make the score 15-10.
The run included a beautiful finish by Senior Corey Eudell over two Mustang defenders, and a perfect spin move in the post by the big man, Ford.
Marriotts Ridge did not roll over then though.
They answered the Centennial run with a 5-1 run of their own and pulled to within one point of the Eagles.
Towards the end of the quarter the Mustangs and the Eagles traded three-pointers and the score was 22-18, Marriotts Ridge with less than a minute remaining in the quarter.
Eudell capped off a very productive second quarter with a coast-to-coast layup to pull the Eagles within two points of the Mustangs at the break.
Centennial picked up the pace offensively and after switching to the zone created more turnovers and converted them into points very effectively.
However, the Mustangs full court press towards the end of the second quarter pressured the Eagles a little bit and put them out of their comfort zone.
Nonetheless, Centennial was only trailing by two points at the break, 22-20, and drastically picked up their offense.
The second half was kicked off by a pair of Eudell and Smith three-pointers, to take a four-point lead with 6:45 remaining in the quarter.
The Mustangs battled back though, going on a 6-0 run with a pull-up jumper in transition along with a couple lay-ups.
Senior Shawn Hill answered the run with a lay-up of his own, only to be followed by a Mustang three-pointer.
Marriotts Ridge held a five-point lead, 33-28, with 3:13 remaining in the third quarter.
Hill took it down low, missed his initial shot, but battled for his own rebound and put it back himself to pull the Eagles within three points of the Mustangs.
After that, Junior Cam Berkeley made a lay-up, Eudell connected on yet another three-ball, and senior Jaden Williams made a lay-up to take a four point lead, 37-33.
Hill made another lay-up with four seconds remaining in the quarter for what was thought to be the last points of the third, but Marriotts quickly got down the floor and made a ridiculously deep three-pointer to make the score 39-38, Eagles at the end of the third quarter.
The Eagles largely dominated the fourth quarter.
Six different players scored for Centennial in that quarter and three of them had four points each.
The Eagles held onto their lead from the third quarter and never lost it the rest of the game. Centennial ended up winning the game by 11 points and had an extremely balanced scoring attack despite missing key offensive player, senior Sean Taylor.
Eudell led the way with 12 points, followed by Hill with 9, Smith with 8, and Ford also with 8.
This win marks the first time the Eagles have more wins than losses the whole season and they look to extend their winning streak to four games when they face Glenelg this Friday, January 7th.
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