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Centennial sweats out win over Westminster


Centennial didn't exactly put on a basketball clinic last night but the visiting Eagles had just enough help to get past Westminster, 56-53, in a less than artistic game.

The help came in the form of 23 Westminster turnovers and Centennial coach Jim Hill's lucky blue sweater.

"We're 3-0 with this sweater," said Hill, whose team is 3-2 overall. The two losses came to powerful Thomas Johnson and C. M. Wright in overtime.

Centennial was led by the outside shooting of Seann Jones, who had four three-pointers and 23 points.

Jones had 16 points in the first half before the Owls figured out a way to shut him down from long range. But Jones still contributed to the winning cause in the fourth quarter with two nifty driving layups and two free throws in the final 3:21.

Jones' free throw with six seconds left gave Centennial a 56-53 lead, forcing the Owls (1-3) to go for a three-pointer in the final seconds.

Westminster got the ball to its three-point shooter, Charles Van Horn, with three seconds on the clock, but Van Horn lost the ball out of bounds as he tried to square up for a three-point shot.

The ball rolled out with one second on the clock, and Centennial was able to get the ball in bounds to run off the final second.

Van Horn, who had three three-pointers last night, had just hit a three-point shot with seven seconds left to reduce the Eagles' lead to 55-53. He wound up with 18 points to lead the losers.

Westminster committed many of its turnovers in the second quarter against a Centennial full-court press, allowing the visitors to take a 26-20 half-time advantage.

But the Owls fought back in the opening minutes of the third quarter behind the shooting of Van Horn and John Morningstar, and the game was close the rest of the way.

"Once we sit down and figured out how not to give Jones all those wide open three-pointers, we were much better off," said Westminster coach Dave Byers. "He was getting the ball and turning around and shooting threes with no one on him."

But that wasn't the only thing that left Byers unhappy last night.

"Most of the time our players didn't look like they had an idea of what they wanted to do out there and that's my fault," said Byers. "I must have lost my coaching touch or something over the summer."

Byers was upset over the turnovers, especially the way his team dribbled into double teams and didn't catch the ball at times.

Westminster 6-foot-8 center Russell DeMont had 19 rebounds, 11 points and three blocks but it wasn't enough to overcome the mistakes.

Centennial got 11 points from Dave Hudson off the bench, and reserve Jeff Windich scored six.

"Jones had a good game for us," said Hill. "But I don't want to minimize what Hudson and Windich did for us. I'm real happy to get out of here with a win. We need to play smarter defense, but give Westminster credit for shooting the ball well at the end."

Hill said that Jones is a very unselfish player and "I have to bug him to shoot the ball more."

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