Eagles Basketball Soared into the Regional Semi-Finals
On Tuesday, March 5, 2013, the Centennial Eagles boys’ basketball team traveled to Reservoir to face off against the 18-8 Gators in the 3A East regional semi-finals.
Reservoir beat Centennial both times they met during the regular season, played a very aggressive match and stunned the Eagles with their swift shooting and fast-break layups.
CHS put up a good fight, although they could not extend lead that could change the Gators’ dominating flow. Although Centennial sought a burst of energy in the fourth quarter, there was not enough time for them to pull an upset. The final score was 72-66, Reservoir.
Despite falling to the Gators, five days prior, the Eagles traveled to defeat River Hill for the regional quarterfinal match. They played an outstanding and unforgettable game, defeating the 20-5 Hawks in triple overtime.
The first quarter had ended with the Hawks leading by five. The consistent play also continued throughout the second period. However approaching halftime, the Hawks had settled a lead switching between eight to ten points.
In the third quarter, the Hawks extended their lead. Reaching their highest lead of the game, twelve points, the Eagles knew they needed to make a change. After a crucial timeout, the squad came out with intensive defense and pressure that forced turnovers by the Hawks and allowed the Eagles to convert layups. They weren’t going home without a fight.
With three minutes remaining in the match, the Eagles finally achieved a tie at 48-48, the first time in the entire game that the Hawks weren’t winning. The fans stood on their respective sides, watching the nail biting final moments unravel. With the final minute running down on the clock, the Eagles had to resort to fouling in order to stop time.
With six seconds left on the clock, the Eagles were down by four points. Walter Fletcher drove hard through the lane, and was fouled on his way to the hoop. He was given two free-throws. On the line, he sunk the first one, and a sigh of relieve resonated throughout the Eagles’ fans.
Then, Fletcher missed his second free-throw, the rebound landing in the hands of River Hill. Believing that that error sealed the deal and confirmed the Eagles’ loss, the Hawks’ student section chanted the general cheer to make Centennial feel bad: “It’s all over,” “Start the buses,” and the song excerpt, “Hey, hey, hey, goodbye.”
In retaliation, the Eagles’ fans replied with “It’s not over,” but it was hard for many to believe there was a chance for a comeback with such little time on the clock, and a three point deficit.
Suddenly, the Eagles players on the floor swarmed the River Hill player with possession of the rebound. After getting their hands on the ball, a jump-ball was called. The eyes of every fan in the arena turned to the scoreboard to see which team would have possession. Cheers erupted from the Eagles’ side of the gym when they saw the arrow illuminated, pointing to the Visitor’s side, giving Centennial chance to score.
The Eagles set up an inbounds play that needed to result in a three-pointer to tie the game. With two seconds remaining, senior Omari Ringgold caught the ball outside of the arch, and with two River Hill players guarding him, took one dribble and the crowd watched the game’s most crucial shot fly through the air.
When the ball swished through the basket, chaos erupted. River Hill fans silenced in disbelief, and Eagles fans screaming, high-fiving each other, and jumping in complete awe. The game had been tied with virtually no time remaining in regulation. The Eagles still had a chance to win.
In the first overtime, the game was very back-and-forth. The Eagles would score a field goal, then be returned by a River Hill lay-up or jump-shot. At the end of the five minute period, the score was tied 63-63, and this back-and-forth continued through the second overtime.
In the third overtime, there was finally an awaited three-pointer hit by Centennial’s Ringgold. Although River Hill came back with a layup, they could not compete with the Eagles’ energetic hustle and break-away plays. With 40 seconds remaining, the score was 78-74, Centennial. The Hawks had to succumb to fouling to stop the clock. However, with the converting of their free-throws, the final score was 81-76, Eagles. As Ringgold sunk his final free-throws and ended his night with an outstanding 42 points and confirmed their win, the River Hill student section exited the gym in a herd, disappointed while the Eagles fans stormed the court.