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Boys Basketball: Century cruises past Catoctin with long-range accuracy

Century's Chris Burriss (3) releases a shot from three-point range as a pair of Catoctin opponents try to defend on the play, in the holiday basketball tournament at Liberty High School on Thursday, Dec. 26.
Century's Chris Burriss (3) releases a shot from three-point range as a pair of Catoctin opponents try to defend on the play, in the holiday basketball tournament at Liberty High School on Thursday, Dec. 26. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

ELDERSBURG — Century’s boys basketball team certainly wasn’t feeling any holiday hangover.

The Knights, playing in their first game in a week, used stifling defense and sharp shooting from beyond the 3-point arc to roll past Catoctin 95-54 in the Liberty Holiday Basketball Tournament on Thursday afternoon at Liberty High School.

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Senior guard Justin Wunder led an explosive Century attack from long range, knocking down five 3-pointers on his way to a 36-point effort. Junior guard Noah Riley also had a hot hand, dropping in six shots of his own from behind the line and finishing with 24 points and four assists.

The Knights (5-1) won their fourth game in a row while setting a program record with 19 made 3-pointers in the tournament’s Freedom Division victory. Century is set to face Marriotts Ridge in the title game Friday at 4:30.

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“We played well as a team, moved the ball well and found the open shots,” Wunder said. “Whoever gets the open shot takes it.”

Century's Justin Wunder is wide open as he releases a three-point shot against Catoctin, in the holiday basketball tournament at Liberty High School on Thursday, Dec. 26.
Century's Justin Wunder is wide open as he releases a three-point shot against Catoctin, in the holiday basketball tournament at Liberty High School on Thursday, Dec. 26. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

Century sprinted out to an 18-8 lead early behind a pair of early 3-pointers from Riley. Riley also had a pair of steals as the Knights defense forced several early mistakes by the Cougars.

“That’s our priority first and foremost is our defense,” coach George Wunder said. “Good energy coming out of the break. Good energy defensively.”

Catoctin spent much of the first quarter unable to break through against the swarming Knights’ defense. The Cougars finally broke the double-digit point mark in the last two minutes of the first period.

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The Knights led by 12 at the end of the first quarter and didn’t let up. Justin Wunder helped Century build a 20-point lead with a trio of triples while the Knights pushed out to a 24-point lead midway through the second quarter.

Wunder finished the first half with 25 points, while Riley had 15, two assists and a couple of steals.

Catoctin closed the deficit to 21 points at half with a quick 6-0 surge led by guard Tommy Fitzpatrick. He knocked down a three, then converted a transition basket on the ensuing possession to account for five of his nine points in the half.

Catoctin opened the second half with a big run to close to a 12-point game 49-37. Ethan Pawlus shined during the 15-3 surge with a 3-pointer and a steal that he converted for a layup on the other end. Fitzpatrick also chipped in with another triple.

Riley and teammate Chris Burriss restored order for the Knights with 3-pointers on three of Century’s next four possessions as the Knights jumped back out to a 68-40 lead.

Century was staked to an early advantage prior to the start of the contest as Wunder opened the game standing at the free-throw line after a technical foul was assessed to Catoctin.

“We shoot the ball well as a group,” George Wunder said. “We emphasize trying to get the best shot on each possession and our guys did a good job of that.”

Century (95): Justin Wunder 36, Noah Riley 24, Colby Owings 15, Matt Daniel 6, Chris Burriss 3, Austin Diehl 3, Spencer Copley 4, John Pavlick 4.

Catoctin (54): Ethan Pawlus 14, Tommy Fitzpatrick 12, David Parker 6, Ethan Burdette 5, Dylan Click 4, Connor Koch 3, Eli Frei 2, Mason Shank 2, Garrett Mayhew 2, Bryson Caballero 2.

Halftime: Century, 48-27.

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