An undefeated start through the first five games of the season came to an end for Century when it played in the Liberty Holiday Tournament a few days after Christmas.
The Knights went from 5-0 to 5-2 after back-to-back losses against City College and Marriotts Ridge. But competing in that type of environment is usually by design — better to face non-traditional opponents at that stage of the winter to get ready for what lies ahead.
Century has since responded.
The Knights’ latest victory came Friday evening against Silver Oak Academy, a 65-23 romp that was all but decided after the first quarter.
Mat Huber led Century (7-2) with 15 points, and he was one of nine players who scored for the visitors. The Knights opened the game on a 10-1 run, and led 24-6 after one quarter. Huber sank a pair of 3-pointers and converted a three-point play in the first frame, and had 13 points in the quarter.
And that was while nursing a minor cut on his wrist — Huber said he tried to play it off in hopes coach George Wunder wouldn’t take his senior forward out of the game early on for medical treatment.
Century didn’t have game film on Silver Oak, and therefore Wunder said his team didn’t have much chance to prepare for what it might face on the road. The Rams played Friday without several starters, however, and couldn’t keep pace with the Knights’ perimeter attack.
“It’s tough to adjust,” Huber said. “But we knew that if we stuck to what [Wunder has] been preaching on defense … we stuck to what we knew, ran our offense, and we knew it would all work out. We’d make adjustments as we go.”
Jared Lamb, another senior forward, netted 11 points, while Jacob Diehl had 10 points and Carter Truby scored nine. Truby handed out four assists, and Lamb pulled down four rebounds.
The Knights played most of the second half with a running clock because they led by at least 35 points — it was 43-8 at halftime behind six 3-pointers — and that gave Wunder a chance to give multiple players multiple minutes. That likely wasn’t the case last week, when Century tangled with City (a 75-72 loss) and Marriotts Ridge (65-54) at the holiday tourney.
But with each tournament game deemed as winnable, Wunder said, it left the Knights knowing they can compete with just about anyone in the region. Century’s first game in 2019 came Wednesday against South Carroll, a 66-46 victory that pushed its Carroll County Athletic League record to 4-0.
Friday’s win leads into a big upcoming week for Century, which hosts Winters Mill on Jan. 7 before visiting crosstown rival — and reigning CCAL champion — Liberty on Jan. 11.
“We’re starting to come together more,” Huber said. “The holiday tournament helped. We learned a lot from those losses. We’re learning how to play better as a team.”
Century (65): Noah Riley 6, Chris Burriss 3, Jacob Diehl 10, Matt Huber 15, Matt Daniel 3, Jared Lamb 11, Justin Wunder 6, Camden Stewart 2, Carter Truby 9.
Silver Oak (23): Jaikeal Brooks 12, Jesse Lamorell 5, Jecori Williams 6.