Every time Centennial would close the gap, though, the Gators would answer with a lay-up or jumper to keep them behind by at least two possessions.
Then, in the closing minute of the third quarter and opening minute of the fourth, Reservoir issued the knockout blow. An 11-1 run, punctuated by a 3-point play by Simms, gave the Gators their largest lead of the night, 54-38.
Centennial kept coming down the stretch, getting a trio of 3-pointers from Timi Tinuyoe (13 points) and a couple more 3-point plays from Ringgold. Reservoir simply came up with enough baskets and made foul shots to never let the Eagles get closer than six points.
“It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season and Centennial’s a playoff team, that’s when they always play their best, so you knew they were coming,” Henry said. “It was all about playing smart and making the most of the opportunities we did get.”
Aaron McDonald (12 points) ended up making four of four from the line in the final minute, along with 2-of-2 from Danny O’Hagan, to help seal the game and create the final six-point margin. As the buzzer sounded, Reservoir’s student section emptied onto the floor to celebrate the victory.
“I can’t describe this feeling right now … it’s like nothing I’ve experienced before,” Simms said. “We all just want to find a way to keep this going.”
Reservoir 72, Centennial 66
Re (18-6): Henry 16, McDonald 12, Toler 11, Simms 9, Christian 8, Reilly 8, Williams 4, O’Hagan 2, Brooks 2.
C (16-9): Ringgold 28, Tinuoye 13, Conley 12, Benson 5, Fletcher 4, Olmstead 2, Eads 2.
Half: 33-26 Re.
Other 3A East score:
Annapolis 77, Wilde Lake 57
A (18-6): Smith 23, J. Brown 16, W. Brown 15, Glover 12, Turner 5, Remaley 3, Pratt 2, White 1.
WL (11-14): Groves 16, Calloway 11, Jackson 10, Handy 7, D. Jackson 6, Evans 4, Parris 2, Matthews 1.
Half: 39-33 A.