Centennial takes care of Hebron for third time Eagles advance in playoffs with a 62-48 victory


Popular sports wisdom proclaims that it's tough to beat the same team three times in one season.

Centennial (18-5) ignored such talk and defeated Mount Hebron (10-13) for the third time yesterday before Centennial's largest crowd this season.

The 62-48 Class 3A South region quarterfinal victory earned the Eagles a semifinal game at Carver (3-18) tomorrow.

It was Centennial's second playoff win. Centennial knocked off J.M. Bennett by 31 points in Salisbury in the opening round Friday.

Last night's game was pretty much a replay of a Feb. 13 contest that the Eagles won by 13 points.

Centennial beat the Vikings on the boards, took better care of the ball and shot better.

The biggest difference this time was that one of Mount Hebron's top players, Russell Drake, was able to play only about a quarter because of a pulled leg muscle. He didn't score.

With Drake the Vikings were able to forge an 8-6 lead in the first quarter, but Centennial then rolled off an 11-point run, including seven points by Brian Otten, who led all scorers with 17 points.

Mount Hebron pecked away at the lead and cut it to six points in the third quarter. But Centennial went on a 13-point run to put the game out of reach at 44-25 after three quarters.

Otten scored six points during that 13-point run and Matt Laycock had four points.

Centennial almost lost Otten with 1:21 left in the first half when he twisted an ankle.

"I don't think it's serious," Centennial coach Jim Hill said.

And Laycock (11 points, nine rebounds) was weak from fighting off the flu that caused him to miss Monday's practice.

G. A. Mitroka (four rebounds) and reserve Chip Harrison (three rebounds) helped out on the boards.

"I thought Scott Bross played a real heady game at point guard for us," Hill said. "And Harrison plays tough defense."

Mount Hebron suffered second-quarter shooting woes, making just two of seven attempts.

"We went to a 2-3 zone that quarter," Hill said. Centennial normally plays man-for-man defense.

Mark Jordan (11 points, six rebounds) scored seven points in the first period to jump start Mount Hebron. And Mike Stromberg (12 points, seven rebounds) played one of his best games for the Vikings.

"We weren't looking past them," Otten said. "I think Mount Hebron may have been hurting because they hadn't played a game in a week."

Mount Hebron drew a first-round bye, so yesterday was its first playoff game.

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