On the road Thursday night, Reservoir put together three extended runs in its game against Centennial.
It was the final push, though, in the closing minutes with Centennial trying to climb back into it, that turned out to be the clincher.
Reservoir scored seven straight points in a little less than a minute to pull away down the stretch and earn a 76-65 victory over the Eagles. It was the Gators sixth straight victory.
“Coach basically told us we better … end this right here because if they got any closer they were going to start believing they could win this one,” said Reservoir junior Seth Henry, who scored three of the seven points in those final 90 seconds. “Our second group had come in and did a nice job for us, then our starting group came in and closed it out. We definitely finished strong.”
Henry ended up with 13 points and seven rebounds, finishing as one of two Reservoir (12-3, 12-5) players to score in double figures. Aaron McDonald (16 points) was the other leader for the Gators on a night where 10 different guys finished with at least three points.
In the loss, Centennial got big efforts from Tom Brown (18 points and 11 rebounds) and Isaiah White (18 and 6).The Eagles played without the team’s third-leading scorer Chase Conley, who didn't dress.
Reservoir’s first big push came right out of the gates. In less than three minutes, the Gators had opened up a 9-2 advantage.
Centennial, however, answered right back by closing the opening quarter on an 8-1 spurt to tie the game at 10-10.
The two teams then went back and forth for much of the second quarter, trading the lead four times before Reservoir took a 30-26 advantage into the half. Reservoir’s bench was particularly big in the second eight minutes, accounting for 12 of the team’s 20 points in the period.
“We realize that every person on the floor has to be a threat, no matter who they are,” Henry said. “We knew tonight, and every game really, it’s important to spread the floor and get everybody involved. That’s our strength, we have a lot of guys outside of just our starters that can score.”
Then out of intermission, Reservoir put together its second big run of the night. On the strength of three lay-ups by Alex Hedgren (9 points), the Gators strung together a 12-4 spurt to open the third quarter and take a 12-point lead.
It took all the way until the latter stages of the fourth quarter for Centennial to trim its deficit back under 8 points. The combination of White, Brown and Chad Strothers (10 points) did the heavy lifting to actually get the Eagles within six, 69-63, with 1:22 left in regulation.
That, however, is when Reservoir made its final surge to put the game away.
“The way we’re treating it, it’s almost survive and advance at this point. It’s not playoffs yet, but that’s the mentality I want the kids to have in terms of finding ways to win,” Reservoir coach Mike Coughlan said. “It wasn’t pretty, although I can’t imagine too many games tonight were after such a long break, but we found a way.”
Reservoir 76, Centennial 65
Re (12-3, 12-5): McDonald 16, Henry 13, Hedgren 9, Reilly 9, O’Hagan 8, Kearney 8, Obering 4, Parker 3, Reynolds 3, Mayers 3.
C (10-6, 13-6): Brown 18, White 18, Strothers 10, Fletcher 9, Benavides 6, Clemens 3, An 2.
Half: 30-26 Re.
Oakland Mills 79, Long Reach 59