Centennial boys basketball clamps down defensively in comeback win over Oakland Mills
By Kyle Stackpole
Jan 18, 2019 | 10:30 PM
|Howard County, MD
Centennial junior Joey Sedlacko talks after the Eagles' 57-50 road win on Jan. 18.
Oakland Mills boys basketball senior Daeshawn Eaton got to wherever he wanted on the floor during the first half of Friday’s game against Centennial.
In the opening minutes, Eaton put on a clinic about slicing through the defense and finishing at the rim. The Scorpions scored 15 points in the opening frame, and Eaton, the second-leading scorer in the county at 21.0 points per game entering Friday, scored two-thirds of them.
Centennial greatly improved its help defense in the second quarter, but it only prevented Eaton from scoring — not his teammates. Whenever Eaton beat his defender and a second player came over to contest a possible shot, he smoothly fed sophomore big man Dooley Riggs, who was typically wide open down low. Eaton went scoreless in the second quarter, but Riggs converted five easy layups to ensure the Scorpions entered halftime with the lead.
Trailing, 32-27, at intermission, Centennial knew it needed to better contain Eaton if it wanted to escape Columbia with a win. And for the final 16 minutes of the Eagles’ 57-50 victory, they not only limited him, but they gave him fits. With Eaton scoring two points over the final two periods, Oakland Mills sputtered on offense, scoring six points in the third quarter and 12 more in the fourth. Those woes gave the Eagles a comeback opportunity they were not about to waste, especially after a 50-35 loss against River Hill two days earlier.
“We really buckled down defensively in the second half,” Centennial coach Chad Hollwedel said. “The kids really did a nice job handling the pressure and the up-tempo. We did not have a good night on Wednesday, and they did a really good job of creating their own energy tonight.”
Joey Sedlacko was the go-to scorer for the Eagles (7-2 Howard County, 8-5 overall). When Oakland Mills (6-3, 10-4) played a zone defense, Sedlacko positioned himself in the short corner for multiple easy jump shots. When the Scorpions went man-to-man, his sharp cuts to the basket and ability to use screens resulted in several uncontested layups and a wide-open 3-pointer that tied the game at 34 three minutes into the third quarter.
The Eagles’ leading scorer on the season poured in a game-high 20 points Friday night, while Stafford Smith chipped in 10 points and Cameron Berkeley added eight points.
Riggs (16 points) and Eaton (12 points) were the leading scorers for Oakland Mills but combined for six points in the second half. Scorpions coach Jon Browne chose not to comment on the game.
“In the second half defensively, we were able to get in the passing lanes and deny the ball from their primary scorers and really do a good job on help defense,” Sedlacko said.
On offense, Centennial seldom had trouble creating open shots. While Eaton dazzled with the ball in his hands in the first quarter, the Eagles entered the second period trailing by just two because of their patience and ability to protect the ball. Rarely did Oakland Mills cause live-ball turnovers that led to easy points in transition.
The Eagles played even with the Scorpions for much of the second period, too. It was only after a putback from Riggs and a 3-pointer from Frederick Eiland II in the final minute that the hosts gained the advantage they would take into the break.
Centennial was just as efficient offensively in the second half and now had the stout defense to match. Seven straight points from Sedlacko quickly erased the halftime deficit. A few possessions later, Matt Schickner gave the Eagles a lead with a backdoor layup.
A pair of buckets from forward Justin Parks kept Oakland Mills within one possession early in the fourth quarter, but the Scorpions could never overcome the 39-38 deficit they faced entering the final frame. There were too many turnovers and ill-advised 3-pointers. There were also plenty of fouls, and the Eagles made enough free throws to stay ahead.
The Eagles all but sealed the victory in the final minute when Berkeley beat his defender backdoor for a bucket and then converted a layup to give his team their largest lead of the game at 56-47.
After an off game, the Eagles were seemingly back on track.
Marriotts Ridge is one of the hottest teams in the county right now and is showing no signs of slowing down. Coach Tim Brady’s team scored a ridiculous 30 points in the first quarter on Friday night to jump out to an 18-point lead before holding onto that lead down the stretch. This victory marks the its seventh in the past eight games.
The Mustangs have four players scoring at least seven points per game, and every one of them contributed at least 14 points in the win. A week after scoring 18 points against Mt. Hebron, sophomore guard John Miller led all scorers with 20 points. Cam Heard (20 points), Amari Little (17 points) and Branden Held (14) also posed problems for Reservoir. Little has now scored 36 points in his last three halves of basketball.
For the Gators, it’s their first loss since falling to Takoma Academy on Dec. 26. With Kaden Toler (15 points) and Josh Odunowo (13 points) leading the way, the Gators actually outscored Marriotts Ridge in each of the final three quarters on Friday night but simply could not make up for a very poor first quarter.
MR —Miller 20, Heard 18, Little 17, Held 14, Cam Brown 4.
In a season filled with one-possession defeats, it was only fitting that Glenelg’s first county win of the season came down to one point.
Carson Dick (team-high 14 points) drilled a 3-pointer with fewer than 45 seconds left that served as the game-winner for the Gladiators, who became just the third team this season to hold Mt. Hebron to under 55 points.
Hunter Koele (13 points) and Johnny Piwowarski (10 points) also had solid nights for the hosts, while Odell Dickerson went off for 32 points in the loss.
G — Dick 14, Koele 13, Piwowarski 10, Owens 6, Pearcy 4, Chappell 3, Walsh 3, Dry 2.
Wilde Lake (8-1, 11-2) — 71, Long Reach (2-7, 5-8) — 56
What a turnaround it has been for Wilde Lake, which matched its county win total (eight) with a double-digit win Friday night against Long Reach. The Wildecats are in sole possession of first place in the league standings entering the week-long break without games.
Senior guards Trea Keys and Marc Marshall were dynamic as ever versus the Lightning. Their 50 combined points was nearly as much as their opponent, which was led by Craig Johnson (28 points) and Darelle Raymond Jr. (16 points).
LR — Johnson 28, Raymond Jr. 16, Martin 9, Wyche 2, Brown 2, Haherem 1.
Halftime: 33-26, WL
Chapelgate (6-15) — 85, Mt. Airy Christian — 41
Leading scorer Marvin Cofield poured in a team-high 21 points and freshman Jax Felder added 20 points as Chapelgate earned its biggest blowout win of the season on Friday night. The Yellowjackets, who had four players score in double figures, built a 30-point lead by halftime and only increased their advantage from there.