Behind a 3-point shooting barrage, Century boys basketball caught fire in the second half Thursday night against Manchester Valley.
The Knights (8-1) knocked down 10 3-pointers overall, including five in a 20-point third quarter that helped secure a 57-35 victory. Junior guard Andrew Marcinko drilled a pair of his team-high five triples during the frame as the Knights’ offense found a groove. Marcinko finished with a game-high 21 points, consistently finding openings from behind the arc.
“The threes were open in the gaps. We got a few drives at the beginning and it really opened everything up,” Marcinko said of the 3-point shooting success. “I was able to take what the defense gave me because my teammates opened it up.”
In the opening 2:02 of the game, the Knights jumped out to a 7-0 lead. However, the Mavericks battled back as senior forward Marcel Montgomery found some creases in the low post, bringing the score to 12-7 after the first quarter.
After finding a little rhythm offensively in the opening quarter, the Mavericks struggled in the second. They went the opening 5:43 without a basket, unable to penetrate against the Knights’ length in the paint. Taking advantage of its size, Century attacked the basket down the stretch in the first half with senior forward John Pavlick drawing several fouls.
Trailing by 13 at the half, Manchester Valley opened the third quarter with tremendous intensity, scoring the opening five points. Montgomery once again aggressively attacked the basket, tallying five of his team-high 13 points during that span.
Century coach George Wunder quickly called timeout a minute into the second half as the Mavericks were gaining momentum. Out of that timeout, the Knights bounced back with four 3-pointers from four different players. That offensive spark energized the Knights’ offense and allowed them to take control once again.
“Just be consistent in what we do,” Wunder said of his message to the team during that timeout. “We’ve got an experienced team with a lot of seniors, but with COVID last year, limited game experience. So, just trying to be consistent for four quarters and really execute what we’re trying to do from beginning to end. I think we had a little lapse there where we weren’t where we’re supposed to be defensively and took a couple of bad shots. That’s what leads to runs, so the timeout was to settle us down and remind us how we got that lead in the first place.”
With a commanding 20-point lead after three quarters, the Knights’ size advantage in the paint was evident once again. Down the stretch, Century created consistent second-chance opportunities, making it difficult for the Mavericks to set up and defend shooters on the outside.
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“We didn’t extend out defensively,” Manchester Valley coach Christopher Wunder said. “We kind of got stuck in the middle and we knew they’re a good shooting team. We just never closed out, we kind of lost track of our man and they hit wide open threes. You can’t beat them when they’re shooting like that.”