Tag: Connor Clemens

Allied Softball Takes on the Centennial Girls’ Varsity Team

Words: Ashley Berry

At 3:00pm on Wednesday, April 8, the Centennial allied softball team was primed to take on the Marriot’s Ridge Mustangs. Due to transportation issues, the Mustangs never made it to Centennial. Rather than send the allied team home, the Centennial girls’ varsity softball team stepped up to the plate for an in-house scrimmage.

The allied team was off to a great start with five runs in the first inning. Michael Clark ran from second base to home plate off a solid hit by Dominic Roybal, scoring the first run of the game. Roybal and Michael McCarthy were both on base when Orkun Unal hit a ball to the back wall, giving both a chance to run home. Both Unal and Jonathan Hanks had successful at-bats and were on base when Thompson Truong had a nice hit which brought both of them home.

Jordan Ciraolo, Sammy Kastner, and Tori Montanez were quickly retired by Matthew Na and Clark, ending the first inning with a score of 5-0.

Clark scored again in the second inning, making the score 6-0. At the bottom of the second inning, three players from the Centennial boys’ varsity team, Connor Clemens, Matt McShane and Robert Hunter, joined forces with the allied team. Despite a run scored by Caroline Strott of the girls’ team, the allied team didn’t back down. Clark was responsible for three outs at the plate off of throws from Hanks and Clemens, ending the second inning with a score of 6-1.

Michael Havlik, McCarthy and Clark each had amazing hits in the third and final inning, and Unal scored his second run. Montanez scored a second run for the girls off a hit by Kastner in the bottom of the third inning. That would be their final run. Both Strott and Ciraolo found themselves out at the hands of Havlik and Celina Jensen was thrown out at first base on a nice play between Clark and Havlik, ending the game with a score of 7-2.

Allied softball’s peer helpers, Sakena Redmond, Anna Crowe and Frankie Krzyzanowski, and coaches, Coach Frost, Ms. Seen, Mr. Young and Ms. Dodd, helped the team take this win.

Allied Softball’s next game will be Tuesday, April 18 at 3:00 at Glenelg.

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

 

Photos from the 3A Championship Game

Game Photos: Izzie Chausse

Post-Game Photos: Giana Han

For coverage of the game, see Mike Moore’s article https://chswingspan.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/the-boys-basketball-team-brings-home-the-state-title/ .

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

The Eagles are Headed to States

Words: Giana Han

Photos: Izzie Chausse

Contributions from Mike Moore

On March 12, 2015, the Eagles finished what they had started three years ago when the team won the state semifinal against the C. Milton Wright Mustangs, 75-61.

From the moment the team stepped onto the floor for warm-ups, they were sinking shots, and the crowd was going wild.  The game was set at Xfinity Center, creating a very different feel than the one of the comfortable high school gym at Centennial.

“The perception of the shots were different.  We’re used to having a wall there,” said senior Isaiah White.  “When we came out, we had our school, our community behind us, so that helped relieve the pressure.”

The fans quieted down for a moment when the Mustangs won the tip-off and quickly converted it into points with a basket from CMW’s Corey Bays.

However, a minute and 15 seconds into the game, a basket by junior Tom Brown tied the game, and 30 seconds later, a three from senior Chad Strothers put Centennial in the lead.  I. White put another two on the board, and senior Connor Clemens followed that with another three, putting the Eagles up 10-4.  The Eagles were off and running, and they never looked back.

Supported by Centennial’s strong defense, Strothers took advantage of the steals and defensive rebounds his teammates passed to him and scored several lay-ups, making tough shots look easy.  The Eagles were playing a fast game that was different than their usual methodical offense, yet very effective.

Head Coach Chad Hollwedel said, “It starts for us on the defensive end.  We play with the defensive energy and we get stops, it leads to run outs and it gets us started.  We have worked very hard at creating tempo in the half court set to get the shots we want.”

The Eagles were up 18-11 when senior Eli Geist and sophomore Elijah White checked into the game. Seconds after stepping onto the floor, Geist put a rebound back up, scoring the final points of the quarter.

Entering the second, CMW’s Christopher Lorenzo cut the Eagles 20-11 lead to seven points with a three point shot.  Seniors I. White and Strothers responded immediately.  A tipped rebound to I. White led to a fast break where he crossed out a defender for an easy lay-up.  Strothers converted a steal into a lay-up and then drove to the basket, laying the ball up nice and easy over two defenders on the next play.  Less than four minutes into the second quarter, Strothers was already in double digits for points.

The rest of the team helped to solidify the lead with strong defensive rebounds from Brown and blocks from Geist and I. White.  Junior Michael Merkey, Brown, and E. White put points on the board, and the Eagles finished the half up 36-24.

Baskets from I. White, Clemens, and Strothers quickly extended the Centennial lead to 18 points in the second quarter.  However, CMW’s Bays was putting up a fight and cut the lead to 15.

Even with Bays’ effort, the Eagles continued to dominate the third.  E. White and Geist came in to score points while Brown (10 rebounds) dominated the boards, eliminating second chance shots for the Mustangs.  With a 19 point cushion, the Eagles had set themselves up for a promising final quarter.

The opening play of the fourth was a put back from Mustang Kyle Harkins, and the Mustangs quickly set up a press.  Bays, Harkins, and Seth Walker sank their shots, and the Eagle’s lead was cut down to 13.

However, the Eagles followed their normal philosophy of when a team goes on a run, they just need to respond with a bigger run.

“Coach talked about making sure we closed out on their shooters because they started to knock down their shots,” said E. White.  “Just closing out and forcing their quick shots.  Then they started missing a couple.”

“You know they were a good team, knew they would make a run,” said Hollwedel.  “We weathered that storm and made a little run, just trying to minimize their runs and maximize ours.”

With lay-ups from Strothers, E. White, and senior Kevin Wilson, and strong rebounds from Brown, the Eagles established that they weren’t ready to go home.

This was confirmed when a fast break led to a spectacular dunk by E. White followed minutes later by one from his brother.  With a strong lead created by Strothers (19 points), I. White (19), Clemens (10), E. White (10), Geist (6), and Brown (6), the starters were retired, and the Eagles were able to clear their bench.

With a final free throw from Min An, the game ended 75-61, and the crowd went wild.  The program had made it past the obstacle the state semi-final to game had presented to the team of 2011-2012.

“When I was a freshman, I remember watching the varsity team go through the halls and we were all clapping for them, I just thought, man, that would be awesome to have that opportunity someday,” said Strothers.  “We worked really hard to get here.”

Some of the team who had made it to the 2012 state semi-finals last were in the crowd cheering on the kids who were once J.V. players looking up to them.

“It kinda was awesome, having them see us because we were out there watching them, and to have them come see us, it’s like [being] in their shadow almost.  And now we have the chance to gain the state title, and we want to make them proud,” said Strothers.

The entire team was able to contribute to the win.  According to Hollwedel, their amazing teamwork stems from the fact that they are a great group who truly like each other and are willing to put in the work.

“I’m fortunate, with the staff, to be able to try and cultivate that a little bit more.  From a basketball perspective, there are things they can work on, but if they weren’t the kids they were, it wouldn’t matter,” said Hollwedel.

“We all play together, so it’s not only one player,” added E. White.  “It’s the whole team, and when we’re all working together, it works.”

The next game will be at Xfinity Center on March 14 at 3 p.m.

“Every day we talk with the kids about just finding a way to be 1-0 at the end of the day.  We’re going to have a fight in for us with a very good basketball team on Saturday, and we’re going to go home and start preparing for the next game,” said Hollwedel.  “It’s been a great group all year, they deserve to play one more time.”

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

Photos From the Regional Championship

Photos: Izzie Chausse

For coverage of the game, see the article by Giana Han at https://chswingspan.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/the-eagles-win-a-double-victory-a-state-title-and-a-regional-championship/

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

The Eagles Win a Double Victory- A State Title and a Regional Championship

Words: Giana Han

Contributions from Mike Moore

Generally people hate Mondays, but Monday Mar. 9 was a day of triumphs and victories for Centennial High School.

The Eagles celebrated not one, but two wins today when Austin Kraisser won the wrestling state championship and the boys’ basketball team pulled out a win over River Hill for the regional title.

From the moment the teams walked onto the court for warm-ups, the competition was fierce.  The Centennial fans started counting the number of missed shots the Hawks had, and the River Hill fans soon picked it up on the other side.  The names were announced , and both sides tried to yell over the players names,

When the national anthem would not play, the River Hill fans started to sing it themselves.  The rest of the gym quickly picked up the tune.  However, after the Eagles shouted “RED!”, the Hawks started to race to the finish line while the Eagles attempted to keep the song slow.

At tip off, the gym was rocking, and River Hill’s Charles Thomas IV tipped the ball to his teammate, starting the game.  The ball changed possession several times before Thomas IV scored the first points of the game.

Thomas IV continued to dominate the floor. The Eagles hung behind, Isaiah White helping to keep the team in the game with nine points for the quarter. In the last 0:00.8 seconds of the first quarter, Thomas IV dunked the ball, pushing the Hawks ahead, but, luckily for the Eagles, a technical was called, and the quarter ended with the Hawks up only two, 18-16.

In the second quarter, the Hawks played without Thomas IV, but they still kept their level of play up.  Chad Strothers found himself in foul trouble, and Michael Merkey stepped in and hit a foul shot and scored a field goal.  According to Connor Clemens, the foul trouble got the team down at first, but it ended up helping because the team was able “to get a bunch of contributions from a bunch of different guys.”

Clemens and Tom Brown hit a few key shots, but at the end of the half, the Eagles were still behind by two, 27-29.

“We were down two last time we played them at the half.  I just told them we were getting out hustled,” said Head Coach Chad Hollwedel.

“We’d been down before,” said White, “so it wasn’t anything new, but it was definitely a little bit of pressure.  Coach just told us to stick to what we do.”

The Eagles came out of half time strong, but so did the Hawks- and they had Thomas IV back on the floor.  However, Kevin Wilson kept up strong defense while Tom Brown played help defense.

“We did such a good job with Charlie last time with Kevin.  Charlie came and was completely ready to play and absolutely destroyed us in the first [quarter] to the basket.  He played like he wanted to win a championship,” said Hollwedel.  “We just kept fighting, trying to keep him off the boards with help and being up and fronting him with Kevin.”

With the Eagles working hard on both offense and defense, the third ended in a tie, 38-38.

At the start of the fourth, the five starters were back on the floor for Centennial.  However, the Hawks were playing an effective zone, shutting down the Eagles’ inside game.

“We knew we had to push and beat their zone because their zone killed us last game.  Once we started to get the ball going in transition, we were getting easy buckets,” said Brown.

Jump shots from White and put backs from Brown put points on the board for the Eagles.

However, in the last minutes, the Hawks pulled ahead.  A time-out was called by the Hawks when they received possession of the ball with a minute left.  They were clearly playing keep away to maintain their one point lead with players passing up wide opens shots created by the Eagles scramble for the ball.

The Eagles had to foul to stop the clock until they reached seven fouls, and the Hawks were shooting one and one.  River Hill missed their first foul shot, but the Eagles missed their chance and had to foul again.

Once again, River Hill missed the foul shot, and the Eagles did not capitalize on the turn over.

With seconds left in the game, River Hill missed a third foul shot and the Eagles got the rebound.  A pass to Clemens on the wing led to a jump shot with less than a second left in the game.

The gym was silent as both sides waited.  When the ball fell through hitting nothing but net, the Eagles stormed down into the court.  With Clemens’ shot, the Eagles became the 2015 3A Regional Champions, winning the game by just one point, 49-48.

“The kids did it,” said Hollwedel.  “The kids that went out, hit shots, and made plays.  I really have no idea how it happened down the stretch other than that that ball came off and Connor hit the shot to win the game.”

“Connor, he hit those base-line shots all season long.  It was natural for him, he just got it, called the shot.  I don’t know how he did it, but he did it,” said White.

“We were only down one, we only needed two.  We didn’t need any crazy shots.  Chad went to the basket, lost it, but he managed to get it to me in time, and I hit the shot,” explained Clemens, the hero of the hour.

White finished with 22 points and six rebounds, and Brown contributed 10 points and five rebounds.  Clemens had nine points (including the game winning shot) and five rebounds.

“As seniors, as anybody in the program, we’ve never been this deep before, so it was new to us, but we believed in each other, and we knew that if we played hard, as we always did, we would come out on top,” said White who led the team in both points and rebounds.

Meanwhile, over at the University of Maryland, Austin Kraisser was competing for a state title.  Unlike the basketball game, the outcome was not in question for even a split second.

Kraisser emerged the victor with a resounding score of 21-4.

A lot of work went into this title.  Kraisser said, “ I had to put in a lot of work to get here and had to push myself in every practice this year to make myself better each and every day.”

His hard work paid off, and Kraisser won his second state title in two years.

“It means a lot to me to win my second state title, and it is a great accomplishment,” said Kraisser.  “It feels good to be able to relax after having a lot of pressure on me to win.”

Come out and support the Eagles at the Xfinity Center at University of Maryland for the state semi-finals on Mar. 12 at 5 p.m. against Milton Wright.

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

Eagles Fly Past Their First Boys’ Basketball Play-off Game

Words: Michael Moore

Contributions from Giana Han

The gym at Centennial High School Wednesday night was as crowded as ever. Along with the anticipation of a snow day, the student section was loud and rowdy for the Eagle’s first playoff game of the season against Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (Poly). The Eagles pulled out a dominating 50-34 win to advance in the tournament.

The first half didn’t start ideally for the Eagles when they got into some early foul trouble. Seniors Chad Strothers and Isaiah White registered two fouls in the first half.

“Went a little offense-defense substitution in the first half just to try and steal a couple minutes with Isaiah because he’s so critical for us on the floor. But, with that said, I thought we weathered the storm with Chad and Connor and Isaiah each with two fouls,” Centennial head coach Chad Hollwedel said.

The Eagles could not get shots to drop in the first half, sometimes settling for poor shot opportunities and struggling on the glass. The Eagles also had some calls that didn’t quite go their way, and, after two quarters of play, Centennial was down 22-15.

Centennial came out quick in the second half after Hollwedel “reminded us that we’re the better team, and we’ve got to play together if we want to win,” according to Strothers.

White scored four points in 30 seconds to cut the lead to three. Later in the quarter, sophomore Elijah White (4 points) gave Centennial a one point lead and they never looked back from there.

On the defensive end, seniors Kevin Wilson and Eli Geist (3 points) were containing the Poly Engineers.  Wilson played some lockdown defense while Geist flew through the air blocking shots and grabbing rebounds.  Their efforts limited the number of second-chance shots Poly got and helped keep them from grabbing their lead back.

Junior Tom Brown (12 points) was a key factor in the comeback effort. He explained the team’s process during the comeback, saying that once they stopped taking a lot of three point shots and started driving to the basket more, the game turned in their favor.

By midway through the final quarter, the Eagles had built a double-digit lead on Poly. Centennial was hitting their shots and the defense was playing stout, forcing Poly to settle for unwanted shots.  The fans and players could sense it. The feeling of victory began to sweep through the gym. The players were excited and the atmosphere was as electric as ever.

When Strothers (10 points) broke free on a fast break, he looked to the side to see I. White (16 points) keeping up with him.  So he gave up the free lay-up to give I. White the chance, and he threw a dunk down with a little over a minute to go which was the final nail in the coffin.

Anticipation had been building for days.  This game was originally scheduled for Mar. 3, but inclement weather kept pushing it back.  However, the Eagles did not let that stop them.  According to Strothers, they kept in touch and met at the Y to keep from getting cold.

This was just the first step in the journey to College Park. The next game is on Friday against City High School at Centennial, and Strothers is excited for the opportunity. He said, “We just need to keep each night and not look ahead and focus on the task ahead of us.  I think if we keep playing like we did in the second half, who knows how far we’ll go?”

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.