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Boys Basketball: Noah Riley leads Century to its eighth straight win, and a season split with Westminster

Century’s boys basketball team has not lost a game since Jan. 8.

The Knights lost to Westminster 52-46 that night, and it remains to be their only loss in Carroll County Athletic League play this winter. They were determined to keep it that way a second time around, and defeated the host Owls 64-52 on Tuesday.

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Junior guard Noah Riley led the Knights with 25 points, Justin Wunder scored 14 points and Matt Daniel had nine. Daniel added six rebounds and the Knights shot 11-for-25 from behing the 3-point line.

Riley was responsible for five of those crucial shots and expressed his enthusiasm each time the shots sank through the mesh.

“It’s my teammates mostly,” Riley said. “They get me open, they get me the ball and they trust me to knock down those shots, take those shots and be able to knock them down.”

Knights coach George Wunder said the most important thing about landing those shots is that it sparks the team’s hustle on defense.

“We go on a roll, hit a few shots and our defense improves,” Wunder said. Our guys are moving more defensively and more importantly, it stretches the defense out and we’re able to get the basket a little bit more, too. It’s important for us and I was more pleased with us getting to the bucket tonight in addition to hitting those 3s.”

Owls senior Chandler Gentzel, who led the team with 17 points, scored 14 in the first half and four of his shots were from beyond the 3-point arc.

The Owls led 7-1 early in the game, but the Knights came back into play with points from Daniel. A steal from Denio Blaney helped the Owls get back on offense and Gentzel hit a 3 to put the hosts up 10-5. The Knights scored the next seven points, however, and picked up a 12-10 lead.

The Knights (15-2, 9-1 CCAL) led 17-16 at the end of the first quarter, thanks to a buzzer-beater 3 from Riley.

The teams stayed close in the second quarter as they traded shots back and forth. Wunder led the Knights with 10 points in the frame, all of which came in a row. He also opened up the scoring with a 3 in the third quarter to help the Knights pick up a 33-27 lead. Westminster senior Tyler Buberl responded with a 3 and cut the deficit to 33-30.

The Owls showed promise on defense with a pair of crucial steals from Gentzel and Buberl. The plays resulted in two straight layups from Nico Graham and Blaney that brought the Owls within one, 39-38.

“We hang our hat on playing really good defense and we get up and down the floor and work really hard,” Owls coach Brett Kanther said. “It’s a great group of kids …”

Westminster's Tyler Buberl gets past Century opponents Spencer Copley and Matt Daniel (4) for a layup during a boys basketball game at Westminster High School on Tuesday, Feb. 4.
Westminster's Tyler Buberl gets past Century opponents Spencer Copley and Matt Daniel (4) for a layup during a boys basketball game at Westminster High School on Tuesday, Feb. 4. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

Riley sparked a 12-0 scoring run that fed into the fourth quarter to help the Knights garner a 58-41 lead, their largest of the game. A pair of free throws from Graham stopped the run with 4:20 left to play.

Two more 3s from sophomore Colby Owings and Riley kept the Knights on top and the team’s bench players entered the game with 36 seconds left. The Knights outscored the Owls 18-11 in the fourth quarter.

Graham notched seven rebounds and Blaney had four steals and three rebounds for the Owls (14-5, 8-1 CCAL).

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“We have a lot of respect for Century, their coaching staff and program,” Kanther said. “For us to get the split, it’s not bad for two pretty competitive teams. They just shot the heck out of the ball. You have to give the kids credit, the Riley kid was outstanding, Justin was great, they just knocked down shots and they’re really difficult to beat when they shoot like that.

“They’re not shooting normal 3s — we’re guarding them 10 feet behind the line and they’re still sticking them. They’re a really good team.”

Century (64): Noah Riley 25, Matt Daniel 11, Colby Owings 9, Spencer Copley 5, Justin Wunder 14.

Westminster (52): Chandler Gentzel 17, Michael Prozeller 4, Tyler Burberl 12, Denio Blaney 9, Conner Levinson 4, Nico Graham 6.

Halftime: Century, 29-27.

JV result: Century, 55-50 in OT.

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