Centennial coach Dave Greenberg's first visit to Mount Hebron, where he guided the Vikings to six state titles and 13 county championships during his 15-year coaching tenure, was quite hospitable with the exception of the game's final score.
Nineteenth-ranked Mount Hebron (7-3, 2-0) defeated visiting Centennial, 50-33, behind Kathy Doyle's 19 points. Centennial was led by 5-10 senior forward Kish Jordan 17 points and 12 rebounds.
"I told my players it was just another game, but all day long people acted like this was the Olympics and it isn't," Mount Hebron coach Pat Becker said. "This is not the best team we will face all season."
Jordan, the area's second-leading scorer who is headed to James Madison University on a basketball scholarship, is, however, one of the premier players the Vikings will face. Becker was pleased with her team's defensive effort in holding Jordan four points below her season average.
"The key to our defense is our help. That gives us lots of turnovers and fast breaks," said Becker, whose Vikings forced 20 Centennial turnovers.
Greenberg, who guided the Vikings to a 328-64 record (208-16 in the county), shared a few smiles, hugs and coaching tips with his former players during the pregame introductions.
"I was nervous before the game started," Doyle admitted. "He said to me [during introductions], 'Don't hurt my players.' He knows I'm a physical player."
After a sloppy first quarter that saw Centennial (4-6, 0-2), grab an 8-7 lead -- despite six turnovers -- on freshman guard Kathleen O'Connor's 12-foot jumper, Mount Hebron regained control behind Doyle's floor leadership.
"In one sense I feel happy for Kathy because she's blossomed into a real good player," said Greenberg. "On the other hand, I'd rather her not be so good against my teams anymore."
The 5-foot-8 Viking senior forward reeled off nine points early in the second quarter.
Jordan, who came into the game averaging 21.2 points and 10.4 rebounds, was harassed by Doyle and a collapsing man-to-man defense. Jordan's 10 first-half points were enough to keep the Eagles in contention as the Vikings headed to intermission leading 22-14.
"What concerns me is that we had just one free throw until the last few minutes of the game and Jordan didn't go to the line until then," said Greenberg, whose team was 3-of-5 from the line. "You can't convince me she [Jordan] is not getting pounded on a regular basis down low. It's a little frustrating for the team and for her."
Jordan's jumper early in the third quarter brought the Eagles to within 26-18, but Mount Hebron junior guard Alisha Mosely (16 points, four steals) countered with eight third-quarter points, including two free throws on a technical foul on Greenberg.