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Centennial boys basketball defeats Oakland Mills in season opener, 67-51 | Howard County sports roundup

The season-opening victory for Centennial boys basketball on Monday against visiting Oakland Mills was extra sweet for coach Rob Slopek.

Slopek, who has compiled 103 wins over eight previous seasons leading the Eagles’ girls varsity program, got to celebrate his first triumph while leading the boys following the Eagles’ 67-51 win.

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“It’s awesome, the [boys] coaches that came before me I’m very good friends with — Coach [Chris] Sanders is on our staff and Coach [Chad] Hollwedel and I are very close,” Slopek said. “I know how important this program is in the state and in the school, so just to get that first one is nice. It’s cool to get the first one. I was nervous all day, I haven’t been this nervous in a long time before a game.

“It means a lot for us, everything goes back to the guys, they’ve bought into what we’re trying to do and I love them.”

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Despite being undersized in the frontcourt compared to the Scorpions, Centennial (1-0) consistently created second-chance opportunities with tremendous hustle and positioning. Those extra opportunities allowed the Eagles to build a 36-22 lead at the half.

While the Eagles succeeded offensively, they also effectively transitioned between zone and man defense. That defensive fluctuation and ball pressure on the perimeter prevented the Scorpions from getting advantageous touches in the post.

“It’s good to keep the offense on their toes, switching it up so they’re not sure what they’re going to get,” senior guard Cam Grable said. “Zone is a good way to get more rebounds, which is what the focus was ... keeping them on their toes and let them know it’s not the same thing the whole time so they can’t get comfortable.”

Off those turnovers, Grable spearheaded the Eagles creating transition opportunities with 15 of his team-high 17 points coming in the first half. Throughout, Centennial thrived in transition by attacking the basket, forcing the Scorpions into foul trouble as they picked up 11 first-half fouls. As a result, the Eagles shot 15 free throws to establish an advantage in the paint despite lacking in size.

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The final three minutes encapsulated that aggression as Centennial executed a 9-2 run, pushing the lead to 14 at the break.

“The game was won on the offensive glass in the first half,” Oakland Mills coach Jon Browne said. “We’re in man-to-man defense and we still can’t box out. It’s something we harp on and something we stressed in pregame. It’s something we’re going to have to learn to get better at every day. Just a lack of energy I thought and confusion. The lights came on tonight and we just weren’t ready for it.”

While Grable dominated offensively in the first half, several of his teammates found success in the second half. Both junior guard Ty Beck-Winter and sophomore guard/forward Adrien Nyom combined for 15 of the team’s 31 second-half points. That same effort on the glass and defensively persisted the remainder of the game as Oakland Mills never cut the deficit to single digits.

Beck-Winter finished with 16 points, while Nyom contributed 12.

Oakland Mills was led in the loss by Ali DaCosta-Paul, who had 16 points.

Centennial 67, Oakland Mills 51

C (1-0, 1-0): Grable 17, Beck-Winter 16, Nyom 12, Hwang 7, Longwell 5, Crabtree 5, Kayihura 2, Adebanjo 2, Chaplin 1.

OM (0-1, 0-1): DaCosta-Paul 16, Elung 7, Doctor 7, Franklin 6, Daniels 5, Origi 4, Reed 4, Chesson 2.

OTHER BOYS BASKETBALL SCORES:

Hammond 65, Winters Mills 44

Ha (1-0): Addison 16, Muniz 13, Campbell 9, James 8, Taylor 3, Wilk 3, Edwards 2, Thimas 2, Blojay 2.

WM (0-1): Sabad 19, Mogposij 6, Case 5, Hinkhaus 4, Shah 4, Weller 2, Wagnea 2, Johnson 1, Koch 1.

Halftime: 33-16, Hammond.

Reservoir 58, Laurel 46

Re (1-0): Long 20, Chin 18, MacKall 6, Brathwaite 5, Jones 4, Chance 3, Hunter 2.

L (0-1): Jordan H 24, Ary 5, Meyers 4, Kaloga 4, Greene 4 ,Taylor 2, Tommey 2, Davis 1.

Halftime: 30-22, Reservoir.

Marriotts Ridge 95, North County 50

MR (1-0): Curtin 29, Peguese 24, Pung 6, Elliott 6, Kocak 5, Reyes 5, Murari 4, Bryan 4, White 2, Farrell 2, Morgan 2.

NC (0-1): Scanlon 17, Williams 10, Springer 6, West 4, Miller 3, Barry 2, Henry 2, Smith 2.

Halftime: 54-25, Marriotts Ridge.

St. Christopher 62, Glenelg Country School 39

SC: Pulloy 24, Jennings 14, Hendrick 8, Kevanes 6, Greene 4, Bridges 4, Cosby 2.

GCS: McKenna 11, Pickett 10, Culbreathe 9, Green 4, Francis 3, Pugh 2.

Girls Basketball Scores

Centennial 48, Oakland Mills 33

C (1-0, 1-0): Pelligrini 18, Jackson 11, Kim 6, Welsh 6, Khan 2, Clark 2, Porter 2, Welsh 2.

OM (0-1, 0-1): Macharia 16, Buynum 7, Pritchett 4, Paul 3, Vines 2, Browne 2, Brooks 1.

Halftime: 22-15, Oakland Mills.

Marriotts Ridge 70, North County 47

MR (1-0): Trotter 22, Washington 15, Lee 8, Huelskamp 6, Hettinger 4, Windsor 4, Dehann 3, Komin 2.

NC (0-1): Quarles 16, Queen 16,Foreman 13, Lewis 2.

Halftime: 31-19, Marriotts Ridge.

River Hill 56, Glenelg Country 36

Atholton 64, Thomas Stone 19

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