Words: Giana Han
On Friday, Jan. 31, the gym at Centennial was overflowing with Centennial and Mount Hebron students watching as the Eagles won a close victory over the Vikings.
The Eagles started out trailing the Vikings as Mt. Hebron took advantage of many opportunities. The Eagles struggled with fouls as a team early in the first half. Most of the fouls the Vikings were called for were on the floor, while the Eagles committed many shooting fouls. Mt. Hebron made a large percentage of their foul shots, helping them to gain an early lead.
“We dug a hole where we were down nine points in the first half,” said head coach Chad Hollwedel. “And being down nine points against a team that can execute is hard to overcome.”
The half ended with Hebron up against Centennial.
“We went into the locker room and talked about rebounding. Hebron doubled our rebounds in the first half,” said starting senior Chase Conley.
“They had a couple of boards, had a couple of big men, and we had to overcome,” said Matt Ung, another starting senior. “No more second chance points.”
The Eagles came out in the third and worked to slowly cut into the Vikings lead. With fourteen seconds left in the third, a technical was called against Mt. Hebron. The Vikings had committed a flagrant foul against senior Robert Wilkin as he was breaking free on a fast break. Wilkin sank both his foul shots, and the quarter ended with the score tied, 39-39.
The game was close and each team had to battle until the final buzzer went off. The Eagles had gained a small lead in the fourth quarter, but, with 23 seconds left in the game, the Vikings were able to come within one score, with the Eagles only up 52-49.
Luckily for Centennial, the team was able to hold on, and time ran out with Centennial up 54-51.
“We made a run in the second quarter,” said Hollwedel. “Our defensive presence in the second half helped us to overcome. In the second half, we were able to put man-to-man pressure, which was the difference in the game.”
At the end of the game, several players were in double digits, including Tom Brown, Isaiah White, and Conley. Conley finished the game with four steals and a block that helped raise the team’s defensive energy, and White had two three-pointers that helped the team’s offensive morale. Conley added, “I love playing them. We have never lost to them in my four years here.”
“It was a team effort. Every kid on the team contributed because the practice energy has been very good since losing to Glenelg,” said Hollwedel. This game, however, will go down as a win in the books.
“Winning against Hebron is always a good feel,” said Ung.