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Noah Riley’s 3-pointer in final seconds lifts Century boys basketball past South Carroll

It has been two weeks since Century played a basketball game, but it was obvious the Knights worked on late game situations when Noah Riley drained a long 3-pointer with 6.8 seconds left to lift the visiting Knights to a 40-38 victory over South Carroll on Wednesday night.

The game-winning play started when Brent Wehland in-bounded the ball from under the basket to John Pavlick on the right wing. While Colby Owings set a screen at the foul line, Riley drifted three feet beyond the arc and swished the game-winner.

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“Coach [George Wunder] has the ability to trust me with those shots and so do my teammates and they did a great job getting me open with great screens, so I was able to get open and knock it down,” said Riley, who finished with a game-high 17 points and added four steals. “I can’t remember the last time I had that.”

Wunder has seen that play before since the team (2-0) has been unable to play a game since Jan. 6.

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“It’s one of our plays that we work on every day and Noah obviously hit a great shot, but a lot of credit has to go to Colby because he set a great screen,” Wunder said. “It was good execution. Everyone did their job and obviously Noah stepped up and hit a big shot for us.”

South Carroll's Alex Warehime, right, us unable to block Century's Noah Riley as he releases a deep 3-point shot with seconds left to give the Knights victory during a boys basketball game at South Carroll High School on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.
South Carroll's Alex Warehime, right, us unable to block Century's Noah Riley as he releases a deep 3-point shot with seconds left to give the Knights victory during a boys basketball game at South Carroll High School on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

South Carroll (4-1) had taken a 38-37 lead on two free throws by Aidan Greaney (nine points, 11 rebounds) with 1:46 remaining. The fantastic finish erased a tough start for the Knights, who trailed 11-2 with 3:35 left in the first quarter.

Karson Pavlik had six points in the stanza, but Century crept back and trailed 11-7 at the break after a trey by Riley and perimeter hoop from George Berbakos.

The Knights also raised their defensive intensity with tighter man-to-man pressure and held the Cavaliers without a field goal for 9:03 between the first and second quarters. A free throw from Chase Fowble was the only thing that kept SC from going scoreless during the stretch.

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A basket by Greaney with 2:32 left in the half pulled the Cavaliers to within one, 15-14, but two free throws by Riley stretched the Knights lead to 17-14 at intermission. Riley had seven of his 10 first-half points in the second quarter.

The second half continued to feature stellar defense from both teams.

Century stayed with the tight man-to-man and South Carroll switched to a 1-3-1 zone to throw off the Knights’ perimeter game.

“That first half was just a little wake-up call and that second half came and we stayed up and we got stops and got the win,” Riley said.

Seven points from Alex Warehime and six from Karson Pavlik helped the Cavaliers rally and take a 28-27 lead into the final quarter.

A 3-pointer by Andrew Marcinko gave the Knights a 30-29 lead early in the fourth, but South Carroll went on a 5-0 run to seize a 34-30 lead with 5:14 left to play.

Baskets by Riley and John Pavlik tied it a 34-all less than a minute later. Riley’s assist to Wehland with 3:30 left gave the Knights a 37-34 lead.

It was Wehland’s only field goal all night. With 3:01 left, a layup by Fowble cut the deficit to one and Greaney’s free throws followed before Riley provided the game-winning points.

South Carroll's Karson Pavlik takes aim at the hoop as he puts a shot over Century's John Pavlick during a boys basketball game at South Carroll High School on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.
South Carroll's Karson Pavlik takes aim at the hoop as he puts a shot over Century's John Pavlick during a boys basketball game at South Carroll High School on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

A deep 3-point attempt at the buzzer by Caleb Eddins bounced off the back of the rim and a wild celebration ensued from Century.

“I thought we were good defensively all night long,” Wunder said. “South Carroll has been scoring a lot of points. It was a big win for us.”

Century (40): Noah Riley 17, Colby Owings 6, Jimmy Rogers 4, John Pavlick 4, Andrew Marcinko 4, Brent Wehland 3, George Berbakos 2.

South Carroll (38): Karson Pavlik 11, Alex Warehime, 10, Aidan Greaney 9, Caleb Eddins 5, Chase Fowble 3.

Halftime: Century, 17-14.

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