In its first action since suffering its first setback of the season against South Carroll over winter break, Centennial made an emphatic statement Wednesday night on the road against Mt. Hebron.
Using a 19-0 run between the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth, the Eagles pulled away in front of a near-capacity crowd en route to a 60-38 victory. The win keeps Centennial (7-0, 9-1) as the lone undefeated team in Howard County league play, while Mt. Hebron (5-2, 7-2) falls two games off the pace.
“This is a hard place to play … we felt the energy immediately when we walked in the gym for warm-ups. So, no question, this was a big one. It always is with Centennial and Mt. Hebron,” Centennial coach Chad Hollwedel said. “I don't know if it’s as much a statement win right now, as it is simply getting us back on track and keeping us in control in terms of seeding for the playoffs.
“Bottom line, though, it was a great effort from all the guys.”
Against South Carroll at the Liberty Holiday Tournament, Centennial scored just 38 points overall — the team’s lowest total in over five years. Wednesday against the Vikings, the Eagles scored 34 in the second half alone.
Following a jumper by Mt. Hebron’s Aaren Smith (nine points) with 1:43 left in the third quarter that cut Centennial’s lead to eight, 41-33, the Eagles proceeded to score 19 unanswered points over the next five minutes.
During the run, there were four threes, a trio of transition lay-ups and one made foul shot — all by the combination of Isaiah White (19 points), Chad Strothers (13 points) and Elijah White (8 points).
“The truth is we struggled last game scoring the ball, so I think once it started clicking a little bit everyone kind of had that feeling that eventually the lid was going to come off,” Hollwedel said. “Sometimes one goes in and then they all start going in. We actually had two banked threes during that run that helped, but more than anything I just feel like we have the kind of weapons that are eventually going to start making shots if we stick to the game plan.”
Tom Brown was another key all evening for the Eagles, as the junior forward scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Brown had done a lot of the heavy lifting early on for Centennial in what started as a back-and-forth, low-scoring affair.
The Eagles led by just six at the end of the first quarter, 12-6, and at halftime, 26-20.
Mt. Hebron had gotten a spark from the return of Joey Trapuzanno from injury, as the Vikings guard finished with 11 points in his first action of the season.
But Centennial began heating up immediately out of halftime and that set the stage for the barrage that ensued shortly after. Mt. Hebron coach Mike Linsenmeyer said the Eagles deserved all the credit for the push to put the game away.
“They made shots, it’s pretty much as simple as that,” Linsenmeyer said. “I didn't think it was turnovers or anything we did wrong as much as it was they made their shots … and they weren’t easy ones either.”
Mt. Hebron’s Jack Schroeder accounted for the only five points the Vikings scored in the fourth quarter. Overall, the 38 points are the lowest offensive total this season for Mt. Hebron.
With a match-up against Long Reach on tap for Friday, Linsenmeyer says his group has to have a short memory.
“You don’t want your highs to be too high or your lows to be too low, so you just have to move on,” Linsenmeyer said. “The guys won seven in a row, so I’m sure they’ll bounce back. They’re good kids and we just have to get back out there and work hard in practice tomorrow.”
Centennial 60, Mt. Hebron 38
C (7-0, 9-1): I. White 19, Brown 16, Strothers 13, E. White 8, Clemens 5.
MH (5-2, 7-2): Trapuzzano 11, A. Smith 9, M. Smith 6, Bryant 5, Schroeder 5, Madden 2.
Half: 26-20 C.
Oakland Mills 52, Atholton 50
The Raiders held the lead for most of the first three quarters before Oakland Mills made its surge in the fourth quarter to pull out the two-point win. Will Robinson (17 points) and Daniel Kiely (16) led the way in the win for the Scorpions, while Brandon Willis (15 points) and Chris Carter (14) paced the Raiders.
OM (5-1, 7-2): Robinson 17, Kiely 16, Hopkins 14, Ndiaye 5.
A (3-4, 5-5): Willis 15, Carter 14, Mason 6, Rodgers 5, Mendelsohn 4, Roman 4, Myers 2.
Half: 24-18 A.
Wilde Lake 69, Long Reach 55
After losing the team’s first seven games this winter, Wilde Lake has now rolled off two straight victories. On Wednesday against the Lightning, the Wildecats used a big third quarter, outscoring Long Reach 20-9, to pull away for the eventual double-digit victory.
“Everything just came together today,” Wilde Lake coach Deon Wingfield said. “The guys really played well and played as a team tonight … as opposed to a bunch of individuals. Our goal was to start the New Year on the right foot and we did that tonight.”
Steven Jordan and Austin Cantwell led the way with 18 points apiece for Wilde Lake. Both efforts were season highs in terms of scoring.
“Both of them played extremely well,” Wingfield said. “We were doing a nice job as a team of penetrating to the basket and then also kicking for easy shots. And the guys made the shots tonight.”
Long Reach was led in the loss by Ron Carter’s 16 points.
WL: Lamptey 8, Jordan 18, DeLaRosa 8, Bowie 2, Ilchrist 12, Cantwell 18, Boateng 2.
LR (4-3, 5-5): Avery 6, Brodnax 6, Carter 16, Clark 10, Duckett 7, Lamar 4, Stamadtdies 2.
River Hill 64, Marriotts Ridge 32
RH (3-4, 6-4): Thomas 16, DeSimone 11, Martin 11, Sandler 10, Mitchell 6, Ndiritu 5, Mentle 3, Borucki 2.
MR (3-3, 4-5): Speelman 13, Dar 6, Clipp 5, Caffes 3, Ingersoll 3, Morath 2.
Half: 33-17 RH.
Glenelg 71, Hammond 64
G (2-5, 4-5): Oates 30, Richardson 12, Conners 11, Hammert 7, Mills 7, Koele 4.
Ha (0-7, 1-9): Wilcher 21, Johnson 14, Whong 8, Wheatley 7, Ridgell 7, J. Thomas 3, White 2, Nicholas 2.
Half: 35-32 G.
Howard 54, Reservoir 39
Behind a stifling defensive effort that included holding the Gators to just eight points in the first half, the Lions picked up a big win at home.
“We ran a little three-quarter court trap to slow them down and then played some zone … and they just weren’t hitting shots,” Howard coach Seth Willingham said. “We changed our zone a little to take away the high post and then really rebounded the ball well to take away second-chance points.”
Jared Noble and DJ Dawkins led the charge offensively for the Lions with 11 points each.
Reservoir did make a run in the third quarter to get back within seven, 34-27, heading into the final eight minutes on the strength of four threes by Jon Mierzwa (17 points). But Howard answered down the stretch to close out the team’s third county win of the year.
“I told them at halftime, they are going to up the pressure and make runs at us. And Mierzwa got hot in that third quarter with those four threes,” Willingham said. “But we went to a little box and one on him and then a triangle and two to take (Seth) Henry away as well. We got a few lay-ups offensively and then were able to pull away a little again.”
Ho (3-4, 4-5): Noble 11, Dawkins 11, Greene 9, Savage 7, Dargan 6, O’Malley 3, Okoye 3, Shuart 2.
Re (5-2, 6-4): Mierzwa 17, G. Garcia 6, Obering 5, Henry 4, Phillips 3, Weith 2, J. Garcia 2.
Half: 23-8 Ho.
Boys Latin 93, Chapelgate 67
BL: Pugh 37, Spencer 22, Andrews 13, Brooks 7, Chappell 4, Bradsher 5, Archer 3, Stepney 2.
CCA (3-3, 8-9): Frierson 23, Grandy 17, Madden 9, Mitchell 12, Hughes 6.
Half: 46-35 BL