Centennial senior Jeong Hwang talks about the Eagles' 71-65 victory over Howard at home on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020.
Just two days after struggling with execution down the stretch in a loss against River Hill that halted the team’s seven-game winning streak, Centennial came out on Friday night in another close game against Howard and made amends.
Down by a point with just over three minutes left in regulation, the Eagles put together a decisive 11-2 run to effectively put the game away en route to a bounce-back 71-65 victory over the Lions.
“After making a lot of mistakes against River Hill, the captains — Joey [Sedlacko] and me — we got the team together during the timeout when we were down in the fourth quarter today and talked about slowing things down,” said Centennial’s Jeong Hwang, who finished with a team-high 20 points. “It was all about playing at our pace, not letting them speed us up, and playing with confidence. Those things that went wrong other day, we fixed them to make sure we pulled out this win.”
Hwang, Joey Sedlacko (17 points), Brandon Bonner (11) and Shane Taylor (6) did the heavy lifting all evening for the Eagles, but especially during the closing minutes of regulation. Sedlacko, in particular, elevated his game to score eight of his points in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter.
More than anything, though, Centennial coach Chris Sanders said he was proud of how his team answered in the face of adversity.
“We were disappointed in how we played against River Hill, we just didn’t show up to play. But the message was that good teams respond, and today — when we got the opportunity — we responded in the big moments,” Sanders said.
Centennial (6-2, 10-3) stays one game behind first-place Oakland Mills (7-1, 11-2), which defeated Mt. Hebron on Friday. Howard (4-3, 8-4), meanwhile, falls two games back in the loss column of the county leaders.
Cooper Haberern (25 points), Darrion Harris (18) and Kyle Colbert (16) all had big games in the loss for the Lions, guiding the team back from what was an 11-point deficit a minute into the fourth quarter to take a lead in that final period. A 3-pointer by Haberern with 3:43 left in regulation put Howard ahead by one, 59-58.
However, Centennial called timeout and regrouped to put together the game’s deciding run.
“They ended up having the last run and that was the difference,” Howard coach Seth Willingham said. “It comes down to a couple possessions and in games like that all those little things add up … missed foul shots or not grabbing a rebound. It’s a tough one, but our ultimate goal is to become a better basketball team every day regardless of winning or losing. I thought we still did that tonight.”
Howard started fast, taking a 20-14 lead after the first quarter behind 12 points from Haberern. Centennial regrouped with a quick run to open the second quarter and then the two teams ended up trading the lead six times during the middle of the period.
It was a 10-0 burst by the Eagles, kick-started by a 3-pointer by Bryson Baker (5 points), that helped the team take a 38-30 lead into the half.
Centennial stayed in front all the way until that midway point in the fourth quarter when Haberern temporarily put the Lions ahead with his shot from beyond the arc. But Bonner went to work on the inside with two straight baskets, then Sedlacko made a couple shots in a row and suddenly the Eagles had a multi-possession lead once again.
Centennial then sealed things by going 5-6 from the foul line in the final 30 seconds.
Centennial 71, Howard 65
C (6-2, 10-3): Hwang 20, Sedlacko 17, Bonner 11, Taylor 6, Baker 5, Schickner 5, Lee 3, Woerner 3, Benavides 1.
For a third-straight game, Truth Norton led the way — scoring a game-high 29 points — and the Scorpions won their 11th straight game overall. Norton set the tone with 18 points in the first half, including a pair of dunks, to help Oakland Mills jump out to a 45-24 lead at the break.
“Truth has been on another planet,” Oakland Mills coach Jon Browne said. “It’s just been unbelievable and it hasn’t been selfish at all. He got going today by going to the rim and then absolutely took over in all aspects after that.”
The Mustangs came back from a five-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to defeat the Raiders on the road. Austin Avent (21 points), Kaden Bryan (14), Cole Tran (14) and John Miller (13) all scored in double figures for a Marriotts Ridge team that hit five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to help complete the comeback.
Jordan Oates scored a career-high 28 points in the loss for the Raiders.
MR (6-2, 10-4): Avent 21, Bryan 14, Tran 14, Miller 13, James 6, Snell 4, Page 3, Groman 2.
A (4-3, 8-5): Oates 28, Brown 12, Daniel 8, Anderson 8, Rankin 7, Miller 4, Swartz 3, Nwaklor 2, Jennings 1.
Half: 35-31 A.
Reservoir 64, Wilde Lake 47
Jaylen Manning scored a season high 21 points, while Bobby Hill chipped in with 15, for a Gators team that won their fifth straight game.
Re (6-2, 9-3): Manning 21, Hill 15, Ameli 8, Glasper 7, Mess 5, Ballard 3, Stevenson 2, Ha 2, McKenna 1.
TJ King (16 points) and Nick Thomas (12) each set or tied their season highs for points, as the Golden Bears came back from a five-point deficit at the half to earn the team’s second county win of the year.
LR (2-6, 5-9): Raymond 15, Addo 13, Olivis 13, Brown 4, Lado 3, Oduro-Dompreh 3, Yarbough 2, Simms 2.
Half: 45-19 RH.
Glenelg Country 67, Pallotti 56
The Dragons snapped a two-game conference losing skid, building a double-digit lead in the third quarter and riding that momentum to the 11-point victory. Noah Charles set a season high with 21 points, while Jarod Robinson (13 points), Noah Batchelor (10) and Chase Paar (10) joined him in double figures scoring. Paar and Robinson each grabbed nine rebounds.
GC (8-4, 11-6): Charles 21, Robinson 13, Batchelor 10, Paar 10, Brathwaite 8, Ejindu 3, Yoka-Bratasz 2.
P (4-6, 10-9): Blunt 20, Jackson 18, Mouganda 11, Glover 3, Walker 2, Williams 2.
Half: 30-27 GC.
St. Mary’s 49, Chapelgate 36
SM (1-4, 7-10): Parme 16, Ayree 14, C. Harris 4, Mason 4, Lomax 3, A. Harris 2, Denora 2, Washington 2, Wolfe 2.
CCA (3-3, 9-10): Mbergan 7, Richards 5, Felder 5, Praylow 5, Knox 4, Mitchell 4, Ogunmola 4, Hamilton 2.