The Centennial girls basketball team almost made a 20-point comeback against Clarksburg on Saturday, but the Coyotes hung on for the 61-52 victory.
Clarksburg led 39-19 early in the third quarter, but the Eagles, led by Brook Anderson’s 3-point shooting, cut the deficit to three points several times in the fourth period to almost complete the comeback. However, sophomore Mia Smith and the rest of the Coyotes stayed strong to hold on for the triumph.
“It was exciting to jump out fast,” said Clarksburg head coach Cecilia Natoli said. “… It was exciting to see our kids be challenged like this, because so far in our season we haven’t had too many close games. I knew Centennial wouldn’t quit, and they didn’t.”
Centennial head coach Rob Slopek said he was proud with his team’s second-half comeback. The Eagles have been trailing at halftime in most games this season, so a second-half push isn’t new to the Eagles.
“We kept grinding,” Slopek said. “That was great to see. We kept preaching ‘stop, score, stop,’ and we kept doing that in the second half.”
With Clarksburg (6-0) taking a large lead early, Anderson was forced to be a high-volume scorer, and she succeeded. The senior scored 22 points on 8-of-22 shooting. She attempted 18 3-pointers and made six of them.
“I’d say every game I’m always looking to get them up there,” Anderson said. “My teammates did a great job today off the drive and kick to make the defense make a decision on who to guard.”
While starting slow has been an issue for Centennial (2-5) this season, Slopek doesn’t think Saturday was an example. He credited Clarksburg for its efficiency in the first half.
“We’ve been in a hole in almost every game,” Slopek said. “I don’t think we did anything wrong in the first quarter. They hit every open shot, and they got out fast.”
The Coyotes from Montgomery County opened the game at Winters Mill High School by making their first four shots to lead 10-3. Miki Howson (11 points) was sharp from behind the arc early, and Smith (25 points) scored at all three levels to give Clarksburg a 25-10 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 35-19 lead at halftime.
“Mia has taken on a captain role as a sophomore,” Natoli said. “We don’t usually go that young with captains, but she leads with her actions and now she’s starting to become more vocal. She’s an exciting player to watch.”
Centennial cut the Coyotes’ lead from 20 points early in the third quarter to four points at the end of the third period. While the Eagles couldn’t tie or take the lead in the final quarter, Lauren Pellegrini (eight points), Anderson (three 3s in the second half) and Olivia Reese (six points in second half) led the comeback.
“This is probably Brook’s best game of the season,” Slopek said. “She gave our team a chance. When you have a shooter like that, you can be in every game. When she hits two, she’s usually going to hit five or six. That’s what a senior, four-year varsity player does for you.”
The Coyotes sealed the victory late in the fourth quarter with two free throws from Kaleah Boykin and a layup from Alanna Tate.
Both teams are back in action on Friday, Jan. 3. Clarksburg hosts Northwest, while Centennial travels to Atholton.
Clarksburg 61, Centennial 52
Cb (6-0): M. Smith 25, M. Howson 11, K. Boykin 9, A. Tate 8, D. Chesley 4, A. Carter-Steward 2, N. Kandji 2.
C (1-2 Howard County, 2-5): B. Anderson 22, T. Pearson 8, L. Pellegrini 8, O. Reese 6, O. Jackson 5, A. Urquiaga 3.
Oakland Mills 55, Westminster 50
The Scorpions defeated the Owls to take home the Oakland Mills Holiday Tournament championship. Jaidyn Harris (17 points), Jazmine Washington (16 points) and Kaity Browne (10 points) all scored in double figures to lead the Scorpions. Oakland Mills came back from down 27-17 at halftime to win by five points. The Scorps scored 17 points in the third quarter and 21 in the fourth period. Harris scored eight of her 17 points in the final eight minutes.
OM (1-1, 5-2): J. Harris 17, J. Washington 16, K. Browne 10, T. McDuffie 7, I. McDuffie 3, R. Fairbanks 2.
Jocelyn Fogle posted a double-double in the Golden Bears’ win. Fogle scored 18 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, dished out five assists and tallied three steals. Fogle scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half. Maya Woodson chipped in for a career-high 12 points and six rebounds. Sophomore Milana Newby scored four points on offense and tallied nine steals on defense.
Ha (0-3, 2-5): J. Fogle 18, M. Woodson 12, K. Brown 10, R. Smoot 6, D. Britt 5, M. Newby 4, H. Chambers 2, K. Beahm 2.
IC: Me. Bunker 27, P. Frisby 6, H. Selmer 6, A. Crawford 6, Mo. Bunker 4, J. Cajuclay 1.
Halftime: 26-20, Ha
River Hill 53, Bryn Mawr 29
Saniha Jackson scored 22 points to lead the Hawks to the win over Bryn Mawr in the Winters Mill Holiday Tournament. Kennedy Clark chipped in with 14 points.
RH (4-0, 6-2): S. Jackson 22, K. Clark 14, A. Thompson 5, A. Smith 4, C. Duffy 4, E. Devine 4.
BM: M. Watson 7, A. Harbaugh 6, B. Vinson 4, A. Hurlbrink 3, F. Udeh 2, N. Mills 2, L. Mills 2, Z. Farone 2, F. Polito 1.
Halftime: 24-16, RH
Severna Park 35, Glenelg 15
G (1-3, 3-4): L. LaPointe 4, A. Gillespie 2, A. Cook 2, J. Hirsch 2, G. Tolbert 2, N. Stewart 2, M. Sloan 1.
Halftime: 17-8, SP
Poly 59, Mt. Hebron 20
The Vikings lost to Poly in the Bowie Holiday Tournament championship. Hebron beat Bowie on Friday to advance to the title game.