Words: Shawn Kruhm
Photos: Adithi Soogoor
On Tuesday, March 3, the Centennial boys’ basketball team traveled to Marriotts Ridge High School for the second round of playoffs. Centennial defeated Marriotts Ridge by a final score of 79-57 in the 3A East Region semifinals.
Despite an early 16-5 run from Marriotts Ridge, Centennial led by eight points at halftime.
The Eagles took the momentum into the third quarter and never let up. Centennial went on a 19-4 run to open up the second half. They led by as many as 24 points as they sealed the game.
Junior Bryson Baker led the team with 25 points, followed by seniors Joey Sedlacko and Jeong Hwang who combined for 28 as the team advanced to Regionals.
Centennial hosted Wilde Lake in the 3A East Region finals on Thursday, March 5. Despite defeating Wilde Lake twice in the regular season, Centennial was unable to win on Thursday night. The Eagles were defeated by a final score of 66-63.
“It was heartbreaking,” said Sedlacko. “We gave it our all, but unfortunately came up short.”
Centennial fell to an early deficit that they were unable to recover from. Despite never holding the lead, they fought until the final seconds.
The Eagles were down by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter and nearly completed a comeback. With under three minutes remaining, Wilde Lake held a 12-point lead, but Centennial began to chip away.
With less than 10 seconds left, the Eagles trailed by six points. Baker received the inbound as Sedlacko set a pick. Baker nailed a three-point shot from downtown and drew the foul.
“I knew we were down by six so we needed a three and I knew if I could get a clean shot off I could draw a foul,” said Baker. “Luckily, my defender got caught on Joey’s screen and it gave me a clean look as I drew the contact and sunk the shot.”
Unfortunately, Baker’s efforts were not enough, as Centennial was unable to ultimately send the game into overtime. The Eagles lost by just three points as Baker and senior Brandon Bonner each finished with a team high of 15 points.
Student section leader Zach Grable said “the entire team put forth their best effort every game. It was a sad ending to a great season and I will definitely miss it next year.”
A great season for Centennial will forever leave its mark on both players and fans.
“This team will always have a special place in my heart,” said Sedlacko. “Our bond was so close and it truly felt like a family.”
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