All season Centennial has played predominantly a man-for-man defense.
And that was what the Eagles played for three quarters yesterday against a pesky Wilde Lake team that wouldn't quit.
But in the fourth quarter, Centennial coach Jim Hill switched to a zone, and the Eagles quickly pulled away to a 17-point lead, cruising to a 58-50 victory.
The win kept Centennial (13-3 overall, 8-1 league) in first place.
"We don't like to play a zone much, but we didn't think they could shoot well outside," Hill said. "The [2-3] zone helped us defense [Carl] Jackson and it helped us on the boards. I thought we dominated the boards in the second half."
The 6-foot-8, 250-pound Jackson has committed to Penn State for next season, and he had 15 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots. But it wasn't enough.
Three players guarded Jackson every time he touched the ball.
That opened things up for Jackson's teammates Jeremy Young (10 points, six rebounds) and Jeff Johnson (12 points).
"They cut Carl off nicely," Wilde Lake coach Paul Ellis said. "He had a hard time touching the ball. They are a tough team to play, because they are patient, run their offense and shoot well outside. And they create turnovers and score off of them."
Wilde Lake (5-10, 3-6) turned the ball over 24 times, most of them on forced turnovers or steals.
Brian Otten sank a three-pointer late in the third quarter that put Centennial ahead for good, 34-32.