It's become a holiday tradition.
The Centennial boys basketball team travels to Hampstead and comes home with the North Carroll Holiday Tournament championship.
Centennial set the tone early against Francis Scott Key with the game's first 11 points and never looked back in coming away with a 77-44 win and its sixth straight tournament title.
The Francis Scott Key girls, looking to start a tradition of their own, got off to a good start last night with a 60-42 win over host North Carroll in the final.
Quickness was the overwhelming factor early on in No. 12 Centennial's convincing win over Key.
After senior guard Scott Bross (17 points) got things started with a three in it first possession, Centennial got two straight baskets by Chip Harrison in transition to take a 7-0 lead in the game's first 54 seconds.
Centennial senior forward Matt Laycock, who dominated inside and outside, was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. He scored 33 points in a tough 63-57 win over Linganore in the tournament opener on Thursday and came back with 17 in last night's win.
"We like to press a lot, get out and run and play the good man-to-man defense," he said. "A lot of it is just hard work. Everyone plays together and on any day a different player can step up and score for us. We're a senior-filled team and real cohesive as a unit."
In the girls game, the Eagles got points off their tough trapping defense and also worked the half-court offense well in getting past host North Carroll.
Senior guard Nicole Keffer had a good all-around effort for a second straight night to earn tournament Most Valuable Player honors. Along with her 13 points, she added six assists -- including three in the Eagles' first four possessions of the first quarter to help them get out to a 13-2 lead.
"Something we've been working on a lot is our [set] offense. We're working the ball around and we don't have just one person who can score," Keffer said. "It makes it hard to stop us."
The Eagles also got good inside play from seniors Stephanie Stambaugh and Cindy Sheedy, who both scored 14 points and controlled the boards.
Trailing by as many as 16 points in the first half, the Panthers got within 34-27 after scoring on five straight possessions early in the third quarter, but the Eagles answered with a run of their own to meet the challenge. Junior forward Katie Torsella led the Panthers with 16 points. Senior point guard Aubrey Wilfong added eight points and did all she could to handle the Key press.
"Key's starting five is top-notch," said North Carroll coach Greg Knill. "It's hard to match up against that many quality people.
"In the third quarter, we felt we'd give it the best we got for as long as we could and we did that. I'm proud of them for that."
Joppatowne got 23 points from sophomore guard Menique Washington to get past Patapsco, 43-40, in the girls consolation game.
Linganore took third place in the boys tournament with its 83-60 victory over host North Carroll.
Senior guard Tony Reightler scored 20 points in the losing cause for the Panthers.
Pub Date: 12/28/96