Centennial girls basketball coach Rob Slopek’s first win was in December of 2005 at Wilde Lake.
He doesn’t remember everything about the game, but he remembers he received a technical foul.
“I’ve calmed down a little bit over the years,” Slopek said with a laugh. “I’ve realized at the end of the day that these are 16-18-year-old kids. We can drill everything and coach everything, but at the end of the day they’re going to make mistakes. And that’s OK. I’ve grown a lot more into asking them instead of telling them.”
Slopek, who is in his eighth season as the Eagles’ head coach, won his 100th career game Friday. His Eagles defeated Atholton, 58-43, to improve to 10-8 this season.
“It’s all about the kids I’ve had,” Slopek said. “I’ve coached a lot of really good kids. They’ve taught me more than I could ever teach them.”
Senior Brook Anderson, who led the Eagles with 18 points (all from behind the 3-point line), said her favorite part about Slopek’s coaching is his “intensity.”
“I love it," she said. "It energizes us. He doesn’t let things slide. He’s never satisfied, and I love that.”
Slopek started coaching the varsity girls at Centennial in 2005 at 24 years old. He coached from 2005-06 to 2009-10, amassing 75 wins and winning a regional championship in his final season. He was then associate head coach for the Stevenson University women’s basketball team for seven years before returning to Centennial in 2017-18.
“I loved it at Stevenson,” Slopek said. “I always wanted to coach in college, but then we had two young kids. It’s about family first. I was glad I was able to come back to Centennial.”
Slopek’s Eagles won 11 games in 2017-18 and four games last season, when Centennial forfeited nine wins because of an ineligible player that was on its roster for the first 17 games of the season. The Eagles are now 10-8 this season and 7-5 in Howard County play. The win brings Slopek’s career record to 100-84.
Senior Rasa Welsh, who recently returned from a knee injury, said Slopek is a “great coach.” Her favorite memory of her coach is when he “hit the mop” after the Eagles’ win over Reservoir earlier this season, referencing the dance move that has been made popular on the social media app “TikTok.”
“After we beat Reservoir, he hit the dance move,” Welsh said. “He saw it on TikTok. He wants to be TikTok famous. Our goal is to make a TikTok and have him go viral.”
While the win Friday marked Slopek’s 100th official triumph, he was more happy with Anderson’s six 3-pointers in the win. The performance made Anderson the leading 3-point shooter in program history. She finished the game with 18 points.
The Eagles led 27-25 at halftime and outscored the Raiders 21-10 in the third quarter. Tori Pearson led the way, scoring nine of her 15 points in the third quarter. Welsh also scored in double figures for Centennial, tallying 12 points in her second game back from injury.
“Our kids responded well to the adjustments at halftime,” Slopek said. “Hats off to our kids. Our seniors played great, especially in the third quarter.”
Centennial 58, Atholton 43
Centennial (6-5, 9-8): B. Anderson 18, T. Pearson 15, R. Welsh 12, O. Reese 6, S. Sopchick 4, C. LasCasas 3.
Atholton (3-8,4-11): L. Cowsette 20, N. Blair 9, S. Mims 4, M. Hargrett 3, E. Morton 3, E. McCabe 2, Lubitz 2.
Latest Howard County Sports
Halftime: 27-25, C