Tag: Play-offs

Centennial Boys Varsity Basketball Advances to 3A East Region Title Game With Win Over Rival Mt. Hebron

Words: Josh Horen

A highly anticipated matchup would’ve be an understatement to describe the excitement towards tonight’s game. Rival games between Mount Hebron and Centennial rarely disappoint, and tonight’s game was no different. The Eagles won in an instant classic, 57-42, to move onto the 3A East title game.

The start time for the game was 6:00 p.m., but the doors opened at 4:45 p.m. sharp. Anyone who knows the history behind these two rivals knows that if you want a quality seat, you shouldn’t arrive any later than 5:00.

To start the game, Senior Hayden Ford missed his initial shot and the grabbed his rebound down twice before finally scoring the first two points of the game, asserting his presence in the post.

After the Ford finish, the Vikings retaliated with a 5-0 run including a three-pointer and a swift pull-up jumper by junior Brandon Prox. With 1:54 remaining in the first, Prox nailed his first three-pointer of the night to take a 10-5 lead.

However, the Eagles ended the first quarter on a positive note. Junior Matt Merkey had a very tough finish to score his first two points of the game, and on the other end, senior Kaleb Addisu closed at the quarter with a monstrous block. Mount Hebron took a very shaky 10-7 lead into the second quarter.

Coming right out of the first quarter, the Vikings, who know how to make the long-ball, converted on a three-pointer to take their biggest lead of the game, 13-7.

Later in the quarter, senior Sean Taylor couldn’t be contained. He nailed a two-pointer to pull within four points of the Vikings, 15-11.  The very next possession, Ford had a commanding swat which led to a transition three-ball for Taylor, who went on a 5-0 run all by himself.

Despite Taylor’s shooting, the Eagles still found themselves trailing by four points, 20-16, with just under four minutes remaining until the break.

Senior Andrew Hohmann, who had been pretty quiet through the first half, erupted for four straight points, and the lead. He had back-to-back lay-ups to put the Eagles ahead 21-20. After his second lay-up, the Hebron head coach saw the tide was turning and elected to take a timeout. The timeout proved to be quite ineffective, as Hohmann had his third straight basket of the game coming right out of that timeout.

Centennial went into the break clinging onto a 25-22 lead. The second quarter run for the Eagles was pivotal but they still needed to defend around the arc tighter.

The start of the third quarter was not what the Eagles were looking for coming out of halftime.

Their three-point lead quickly crumbled into a four-point deficit as Centennial saw the Vikings go on a 7-0 run. The Eagles offense was shying away from their game, which is aggressive cuts going to the basket. Instead, they were putting up a lot of outside shots and not getting a lot of action through the middle.

However, it didn’t take much time for the Eagles to realize what needed to be fixed.

Centennial went on a bruising 8-0 run. This stellar streak of unanswered points included no three-pointers, rather, only hard-fought two’s. Senior Shawn Hill started the run with a lay-up and picked up the foul. Senior Corey Eudell followed that up with a freaky athletic put-back off the glass, and Hohmann had back-to-back extremely tough finishes.

The Eagles jumped out to a 33-29 lead with 3:34 remaining in the third quarter.

After a clinic of basket trading, Hohmann launched and delivered on a three-pointer out of a Centennial timeout to push the Centennial lead to 38-36.

Hebron, however, was the team taking the lead heading into the fourth, after a three-pointer gave them a 39-38 advantage.

Senior Jaden Williams had a simple answer for what needed to happen in the fourth if the Eagles wanted to make it to the 3A East title game.

“We needed to limit our turnovers and capitalize on our open shots,” said Williams.

Evidently, the Eagles did just that.

The fourth quarter was very unpleasant for the visiting Vikings. Their primary scorer, Prox, picked up his fourth foul of the game with 5:48 remaining in the fourth quarter. He had to sit for a little while; meaning the Vikings lost their biggest weapon offense.

It proved to be very costly. In those first five minutes, the Vikings didn’t score a single point.

Eudell hit the dagger with 2:44 remaining in the game. As he caught the ball at the top of the key, a defender came sprinting to close him out. Eudell pump-faked, sidestepped, and very calmly nailed the three-pointer to essentially bury the Vikings.

He knew it was a crucial shot when it left his hands.

“It was big to extend our lead and make us feel more comfortable with the time remaining. It was a shot I was really proud of,” said Eudell.

It is challenging to put into words what this 57-42 East region semi-final game-win means to these players. As they have a chance to compete in the 3A East title game, and a possibility to make it to the Xfinity Center, Taylor described it simply.

“Pure joy.”

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

Centennial Boys Varsity Basketball Escapes Second Round Scare Against Atholton

Words: Josh Horen

The Centennial Eagles Boys varsity basketball team survived what would have been a huge second-round playoff upset, beating the Atholton Raiders in dramatic fashion, 49-47.

Senior Andrew Hohmann kicked off the game with a smooth baseline jumper, and from then on, Atholton had no answers for the Eagles offense. With 4:50 remaining in the first quarter, senior Hayden Ford threw down a thunderous two-handed dunk which sent the crowd into an absolute frenzy, and set the tone for the first quarter of play.

It was basket, after basket, after basket for the Eagles. Senior Sean Taylor nailed a three-pointer to extend the lead to 10-4. Shortly after that, Senior Kaleb Addisu played “dirty,” dumping in his first two points of the game, converting on a tough finish in the paint.  Junior Ryan Hollwedel sent a beautiful pass to Hohmann to connect for a transition lay-up to put the Eagles up 14-4.

After a three-pointer for the Raiders, Centennial senior Corey Eudell got out in the fast break and ended the quarter with a lay-up, closing out the quarter with a 16-7 lead. The Eagles were dominating on the defensive end. Not only were they creating turnovers, they were creating offensive chances.

Taylor started off the second quarter with a contested finish and Centennial’s lead was then 18-7. It seemed as if Atholton would never pick up their offense or even defense for that matter.

However, Atholton cut the Eagles lead to 20-13 after nailing a three-pointer. The Raiders were gaining more ground offensively and creating more turnovers which is exactly what they needed if they wanted to win the game.

Following that three-pointer by Atholton, both teams scored nine points each to end the quarter at 29-22, Centennial. Although Atholton’s offense clearly improved from the first quarter, they only shaved the lead down to seven points. Centennial’s offense went step for step with the Raiders but they lost some discipline on the defensive side. The Raiders had more open looks and were creating more chances but just could not close that gap.

The third quarter was when the game started to take its shape.

After Ford nailed one free-throw, the Raiders went on a 5-0 run, hitting a quick two-pointer, and then connecting on a three-pointer. Atholton cut the lead to 30-27, and you could feel the sense of fear rising throughout the gym.

Shawn Hill and Taylor did all they could to not let the lead slip away from them. Hill hit a free-throw and Taylor hit yet another three-pointer, and the Eagles had a familiar seven-point lead again. Everyone watching knew that not even a seven-point lead was safe at this point in the game. Atholton was gaining momentum, and gaining it fast.

After taking that seven-point lead, the Raiders answered with an impressive run of their own, rattling off nine straight unanswered points. They took their first lead of the game with 2:34 remaining in the third quarter, and now Centennial had a big challenge ahead of themselves.

Atholton was trying to protect a 36-34 lead; however, it’s hard to do that when Taylor is hot from beyond the arc. He hit his fourth three-pointer and regained the lead, 37-36. The Raiders ended the quarter with a lay-up to take the lead back and headed into the fourth quarter with a one-point advantage, 38-37.

The third quarter was all Atholton, as they were playing like a team that desperately wanted to knock the one seed out in the second round.

The fourth quarter began with an Addisu free-throw and a Hohmann two-pointer to take the lead 40-38. The Raiders then nailed a three-pointer to take a one-point advantage.

After minimal scoring and emotions running very high, Centennial’s season essentially came down to none other than Taylor.

With seven seconds remaining in the game, the Raiders fouled Centennial’s Taylor. Atholton was in the double bonus so Taylor automatically got two shots. The Eagles were trailing 47-46 and all eyes in the gym were on Taylor at the line.

Taylor sunk the first one to tie the game and a collective sigh of relief was heard from the Centennial fans. Soon after that shot, Taylor sinks the next one. That sigh of relief quickly turned into an absolute roar from the student section, Taylor had just nailed, arguably, the two most clutch points of his career.

“I knew that I practice free throws all the time and I have done these situations over and over again in my head. I just had to keep my form and do my routine and knock them both down so we could move on,” said Taylor

Hohmann now knows that it is one game at a time in these playoffs.

“After tonight’s game, we now understand that no team can be overlooked or taken lightly, just because of what seed they are,” said Hohmann.

The Eagles narrowly escaped defeat, extending their win streak to nine straight games, moving onto the third round of the MPSSA playoffs. On Wednesday, February 28, the Eagles will take on their biggest rival, Mount Hebron, at home in a win-or-go-home game.

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

Eagles Fall to Glenelg in Third Round of Lacrosse Play-offs

Words: Giana Han

On May 12, the Eagles started the third round in the lacrosse play offs against Glenelg.

In the first game of the season, Centennial had beaten Glenelg in a huge upset, ending the Gladiators win streak that had lasted years.  Both teams had something to prove this game, but after the first two periods, it looked like Glenelg wanted the win more.

The Eagles won the first face off when Quinn Western picked up the ball and ran it down the field.  After 1:10 had elapsed, John Kolp found Sam Clay who put the ball in the net for the first goal of the game.  From there, the game unraveled as the Gladiators scored three successive goals in the first period, and then another two in the second.

Shortly into the third period, lightning lit the sky, delaying the game half an hour, but the lightning storm continued and they rescheduled the game for the next day.

The Eagles and the Gladiators stepped onto the field one day later to play the last two periods of the game with the score starting with Glenelg up 5-1.

Over the course of the third period, the Gladiators not only scored four more goals, but held the Eagles to their score of one, sending the game into the fourth with Glenelg ahead  9-1.

The gap looked insurmountable, but the Eagles were determined to make a game out of it. 1:25 into the fourth period, Andrew Gavlin scored the Eagle’s first goal of the day and second goal of the game. One minute, eleven seconds later Dean Fochios, assisted by Gavlin, scored a third goal, tripling the Eagles’ score in less than three minutes.

The Eagles dominated the field for the next few minutes, keeping the ball in their possession for the majority of the time, although their shots kept going wide.  With 4:22 left, Western scored a goal, and then Gavlin scored his second.  The Eagles had cut Glenelg’s lead in half in less than a quarter.

Western then went on to score two more goals (three for the game), bringing the score to 9-7 with about a minute left.  The win did not seem so out of reach, but Glenelg’s goalie was able to stop the rest of the Eagles’ shots before they turned it over, and the Gladiators were able to run down the clock while still maintaining their two point lead.

This was the last game for the Eagles, but they made an impressive showing in the fourth quarter.  From here, seniors Chase Conley, Gavlin, John Kolp, and Western will be moving on to play lacrosse in college next year.  The rest of the team will be waiting for the next season to come around next spring.

Eagles Fly Through First Two Rounds of Lacrosse Play-Offs

Words: Giana Han

In their first play-off game on May 9, the Eagles boys’ lacrosse team pulled out a decisive victory over Winters Mill.

The Eagles had earned a bye for the first round of play-offs, and played the winner of the Winters Mill Century match up.  At first, it looked to be a competitive game, one that would leave hearts pumping and adrenaline rushing long after the final buzzer sounded.

With only one minute twenty-eight seconds lapsed, the Falcons scored their first goal.  Barely a minute later, Austin Kraisser tied the game with an assist from Quinn Western.  Two minutes later, the first penalty flag was thrown against Western.

The Falcons quickly killed the power play with a goal, putting them up 2-1.  However, a great save from Dan Pomeranz and a recovered ground ball by Chase Conley led to a goal by Mike Moore, assisted by Western, which tied the game.

This was followed by another penalty flag, this time against Conley.  Pomeranz’s saves helped hold the Falcons to the tie so that Andrew Gavlin could step up and get his first goal for the game.  His unassisted goal put the Eagles ahead for the first time.  12 seconds later, an unassisted goal was scored by Winters Mill, tying the game 3-3.

The second period started with two penalty flags thrown, one against Winters Mill, one against Western.  The ball changed possessions rapidly until 6:25 when Dean Fochios, assisted by Gavlin, started the Eagles’ scoring streak.  Two more penalties were called, both on Conley, but Pomeranz had several consecutive saves that helped hold the Falcons to three goals.

At 4:26 Gavlin was able to find the open man for another assist, and Sam Clay put another goal on the board.

The Eagles’ scoring streak was momentarily broken when a penalty against the goalie left the net vulnerable, and the Falcons were able to squeeze in a fourth goal, bringing the game within one goal.  With 38 seconds left, Western hooked up with Gavlin for a sixth goal, which restarted the streak again.

The clock was stopped once again for a penalty against Winters Mill, and Fochios, assisted by Gavlin, managed to score one more goal before the horn sounded with the Eagles up 7-4.

The third quarter was much like the second.  Many penalty flags were thrown, but the Eagles were able to overcome and score six more goals.  Conley, Gavlin, and Fochios each made another goal, with Moore putting up three more.  At the end of the quarter, the score was an overwhelming 13-4.

The Falcons began to put up a bit of a fight in the fourth, scoring their fifth goal 57 seconds into the quarter.  John Kolp answered with one of his own.  Winters Mill scored one more around eight minutes, and then the two teams were at a standstill until three minutes.  With three minutes left, the Falcons tried to stage a comeback, closing the gap to 14-9.  However, the Eagles sent their starters back in, and they were able to hold them until the game ended 14-9.

Although the score makes the victory seem very decisive, the Eagles had a lot to work through, including a slow start and the ten penalties called against them.

“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot with penalties early in the game and throughout.  We played a lot of man down and we didn’t shoot particularly well in the first quarter.  A lot of times in these play-off games, you come out after a first round bye and you’re so amped up and so hyped up and there’s so much adrenaline that it’s hard to slow down and be patient,” said coach Nick Kellinger.  “But I love the way we came out of half time, we came out patient, we came out focused, and we played our game.”

Gavlin concurred.  “It took patience.  We took a little time to get into it.  We had to get into our sets, slow down, and try to figure out what we were doing, where they would be, and protect it.  We had to make sure we wanted it more than they did.”

Gavlin had six assists and three goals this game, and is one of three players to be voted to play for the all state all star game for seniors.

“He makes our team go. We don’t really hide anything.  We’re coming at you with big number one and it’s up to you to stop him, and not many kids can stop him,” said Kellinger.

From here, the Eagles will be facing Glenelg for third round of play-offs.  This will be the first time the Eagles have played them since the first game of the regular season when they broke the Gladiators’ in-county win streak.

“We didn’t do a lot of the things tonight that we’ll do on Monday.  We’ve got some different things, some different looks that Glenelg hasn’t seen,” stated Kellinger.