When Centennial girls basketball forward Brittany Anderson goes to the line for a free throw, she uses a little mantra to put her mind at rest: "Make it easy."
In the closing seconds of Friday's matchup with No. 8 visiting Howard, Anderson went to the charity stripe three times. On her final trip, without hesitation, she sank both attempts to put her squad ahead by two possessions.
Anderson's composure at the line helped her team close out the 38-34 victory over the previously undefeated Lions, whose 12-game winning streak came to an end.
In what was once a shrinking possibility, the Eagles (10-3, 9-1) have broken the county title race wide open.
Anderson had 13 points on the day, just shy of her teammate Anna Mitchell, who recorded a game-high 14 in the low-scoring, defensive affair.
In the first half, the Eagles got off to a slow start, and failed to score for the first four minutes of play. Howard (12-1, 9-1) built a modest 5-0 lead, but Centennial responded fast, taking advantage of Lions center Sydney Biniak's early foul trouble.
No. 1 McDonogh 67, John Carroll 21: Dajah Logan scored 12 points and tough defense by the Eagles (16-1, 8-0 Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland AConference) held the Patriots (3-6, 0-4) to single-digit scoring in all four quarters.
No. 2 Poly 76, Dunbar 37: Aneah Young scored 19 points and Tiera Pendleton added 18 to power the host Engineers (12-1) past the Poets (6-2).
No. 6 St. Vincent Pallotti 60, Archbishop Spalding 48: The host Panthers (10-6, 5-4) doubled up, 18-9, on the Cavaliers (3-7, 2-4) in the first quarter and kept them at a distance the rest of the way to win.
Beverly Ogunrinde had a game-high 23 points for Pallotti. Erin Baker had 21 for Spalding.
No. 13 Catonsville 73, Eastern Tech 26: Taylor Barton scored 17 points to lead the host Comets (10-2) past the Mavericks (4-7).
No. 14 Severn 54, Annapolis Area Christian School 47: The Admirals (15-2, 6-0 IAAM B Conference) and host Eagles (8-14, 5-2) made the same number of field goals, but Severn won the game on the free-throw line, going 13-for-24.
Patterson Mill 59, Edgewood 40: Qalea Ismail had 19 points and Chyna Latimer had 11 points and 12 rebounds to lead the host Huskies (9-3) past the Rams (6-5).
St. Timothy's 45, Catholic 35: Jess Berman had 10 points for host St. Timothy's (14-0, 11-0 IAAM C Conference). The Cubs fell to 8-5, 8-1.
No. 8 Oakland Mills 57, Marriotts Ridge 56: The host Scorpions (12-1) found ways to win without Mamadou Ndiaye, who fouled out with 6:30 left in the game. The Mustangs (4-10) stole an inbound pass with three seconds left but missed the potential game-winning 15-footer.
No. 11 Randallstown 93, Chesapeake-BC 43: Jerell Cooke scored 26 points and Devin Smith added 21 to power the Rams (9-2) past the host Bayhawks (3-8).
No. 14 Dulaney 69, Parkville 48: The visiting Lions (11-0) used the long ball to win, making eight 3-pointers. Scott Harrellson led with 17 points, and Isaiah Lamb had 16 for Dulaney. The Knights fell to 6-5.
Glenelg Country School 75, No. 15 Mount Carmel 64: Chancellor Barnard scored a game-high 29 points as the host Dragons (11-9, 4-8 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference) upset the Cougars (12-7, 5-6).
Ben Franklin 62, Carver 32: Jahmal Eggleston had 18 points and Daquan Ledbetter had 10 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bayhawks (9-4) past the Bears (2-8).
Baltimore Sun staff contributed to this article.