COLLEGE PARK — No. 14 Centennial's season came to an end Thursday afternoon at the Comcast Center with a 69-61 loss to Thomas Stone in the Class 3A state semifinals.
Thomas Stone took a 23-22 lead at the halftime buzzer on a 3-pointer by junior guard Michael Briscoe (21 points, five assists), and pulled away for good in the third quarter.
"Going into the locker room that was a lot of excitement, knowing we can get above this team," said Thomas Stone senior center Brelin Elliott, who finished with 10 points and eight rebounds. "That just made us want to get out there and play defense and offense like we've been playing since the playoffs began."
Centennial (21-6) regained the lead twice in the third quarter — at 24-23 and 27-25 — but the Cougars (25-1) broke away with a 20-6 run to close the period.
Thomas Stone advances to face Patterson — a 70-46 win over Tuscarora in the other semifinal — Saturday at 3 p.m.
"We didn't push the ball in the first half. We didn't get some of those opportunities that we normally get," Cougars coach Dale Lamberth said. "In the third quarter we just had to be more assertive in playing our game, and that's what opened it up ... nothing magical."
The two teams combined for 52 fourth quarter points.
Keonte Potts scored 22 points to lead Centennial. Timi Tinuoye scored 19 points (with 15 of them coming in the final 2:30) and grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds, and Omari Ringgold added 14 points.
"There was enough time to come back. If we got a some defensive stops we would have been in the game, so we just had to keep going, keep pushing," Tinuoye said.
Centennial made it to the state tournament last year for the first time in school history, losing in the championship game to Milford Mill.
"Right now the kids are sad and they're disappointed but ... these seniors have done something that our school has never done [before] and they've done it in back to back years," Eagles coach Chad Hollwedel said. "I'm just incredibly proud of what these kids have done with their dedication to this program."
Thomas Stone senior forward Emeka Mbakwe recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.