Coming off what she called one of the sloppiest games her team had played, Centennial’s Anna Mitchell was finally able to put everything together Friday afternoon.
In their third game in as many days, the Eagles finished a perfect week with a 49-43 win over visiting Mt. Hebron.
“We had a lot of time to think about everything,” Mitchell said of the difference between the two games. “I think we were motivated to redeem ourselves from last night because we never want to play that way again.”
Just 24 hours earlier, the junior forward spent much of the Eagles’ victory against River Hill on the bench, as early foul trouble forced coach Bobby Macheel to alter his lineup.
On Friday, Mitchell said she made smart decisions and failed to take as many risks. Macheel said her 12 points and 14 rebounds are a sign of what teams can expect to see if she can stay on the court.
“Anna got in her groove tonight,” he said. “She’s a rhythm player, and when she gets in that, she can be unstoppable.”
Centennial (3-0, 3-1) got help from surrounding pieces as well, including Eagles’ leading scorer Sara Downing (15 points), Alicia Hsieh (11), Sammie Albornoz (5) and Brittany Anderson (5). Forward Kimmy Eads also contributed down low, tallying seven rebounds of her own.
Mt. Hebron was playing without injured starting forward Nia Crump. While coach Tony Bell said her absence did have an impact on his team’s performance, there were multiple culprits that led to the loss.
“We didn’t have a game yesterday, and I think we got complacent,” he said. “We were in a funk today, and I need to figure out what that was all about.”
Gabby Green had 16 points and 12 rebounds in the paint. Junior guard Meghan Doherty added 11 points, including a crucial 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter to get her team back in contention.
But with less than three minutes remaining in the game, Mitchell provided a decisive shot.
Surprising her coach, Mitchell took a pass at the top of the key, and without hesitation, put up a jumper from beyond the arc in one fluid motion.
“I was glad to pull it out, and I was glad it was against Hebron of all teams to prove that I can really shoot,” Mitchell said.
The shot put the Eagles up by five points late in the game — a lead the Vikings could never fully overcome.
“I’m proud of my girls and the way they played,” said Macheel. “Coming out of (the week) 3-0 is pretty good.”
Bell said his team needs to get back to playing their style of basketball if they want to improve.
“If we’re not pushing the ball, then we’re playing right into the other team’s hands,” he said. “We lost to a good team. They are going to be around at the end of the season, but this is definitely a tough loss to swallow.”
Centennial 49, Mt. Hebron 43
Cen: S. Albornoz 5, S. Downing 15, A. Mitchell 12, A. Hsieh 11, B. Anderson 5, K. Eads 1.
MH: G. Green 16, M. Doherty 11, T. Wallpher 2, M. Konig 2, O. Williams 2, P. LeConte 2.