In a match-up of surging teams, Centennial’s balanced attack proved to be a little too much for Long Reach Tuesday evening.
The visiting Eagles had 11 guys find the scoring column, including four players in double figures, and ultimately pulled away down the stretch for a 73-56 victory. It was the fourth consecutive win for Centennial (5-3 county, 7-3 overall), while Long Reach (2-6, 5-6) saw its own three-game winning streak snapped.
“Opposing teams are starting to key on a couple of kids, but we have a lot of kids capable of scoring the ball and we are using that to our advantage,” Centennial coach Chad Hollwedel said. “We’re starting to be able to identify specific match-ups we might be able to take advantage of and working the ball to exploit that. Between that and our focus on fundamental team defense, we are definitely moving in the right direction.”
Senior Chase Conley (13 points) got the Eagles started on the right foot against the Lightning, scoring eight points in the first quarter to help Centennial grab an 18-12 cushion. But before long, everyone was getting into the act.
Isaiah White (13 points), Tom Brown (13), Walter Fletcher (11) and Chad Strothers (6) all scored baskets in the second quarter as the team extended its lead to 32-22 at the half.
Long Reach saw its deficit grow all the way up to 19 points midway through the third quarter, however that is when Shane Barr (13 points) came alive and temporarily brought the Lightning back.
In a 13-2 Long Reach spurt, Barr scored of those eight points on a mix of foul shots and jumpers to cut the Centennial lead to eight points, 48-40.
As quickly as the Lightning cut into the lead, though, the Eagles responded just as quickly to push it back into double digits. By the late stages of the fourth quarter, Centennial had opened up its largest lead of the night at 21 points, 71-50.
“Being consistent for any significant stretch of time was not there for us tonight,” Long Reach coach Al Moraz Jr. said. “Every time we made a run, we would turn around and send them to the line or give up an easy basket … bottom line is we just got flat out beat.”
For Centennial, which lost three out of four games right before winter break, this recent winning streak was kick-started by a win over Friendly (Prince George’s County) in the opening round of the Liberty Holiday Tournament. Including that game, each of the team’s last four victories have been by double figures.
“We are always trying to build toward being at our peak at the end of the season and I think that was a great catalyst beating a strong PG-county team,” Hollwedel said. “I’m just proud of where they are right now. Together they have fun every day and really working for each other.”
Centennial 73, Long Reach 56
C (5-3, 7-3): Brown 13, Conley 13, White 13, Fletcher 11, Strothers 6, Wilkin 5, Ung 4, Clemens 3, Tignall 2, An 2, Geist 1.
LR (2-6, 5-6): Barr 13, Carter 10, Duckett 6, Brodnax 6, Clark 5, Montgomery 4, Lamar 3, Paul 3, Hall 3, Briscoe 2, Menusan 1.
Half: 32-22 C.
Atholton 59, Mt. Hebron 49
A (7-1, 8-2): Martin 12, Perdue 11, Ballmer 9, Bernetti 9, Kelly 7, Willis 7, Mason 6.
MH (5-3, 7-4): Herlihy 17, A. Smith 12, M. Smith 11, Duan 5, Andreas 3, Maloney 1.