Centennial, behind for the first time with three minutes left, rallied in the final minute to pull out a 44-41 victory at Westminster last night.
pTC Stacey Tokasz, one of two seniors in the lineup for the short-handed Eagles (2-0), put her team ahead with a baseline shot 55 seconds from the end, and Amanda Olsen, four-for-four at the foul line, produced two of them with 15 second left to set the final margin.
"Tokasz and Erica Schroeder gave us a boost when we needed it, and Olsen knocked down the foul shots," said Centennial coach Dave Greenberg. "I thought we might be in trouble at the end if it was close, because we're so young and without a lot of experience in that situation."
Westminster (2-1), which had won its first two by coming from behind, was not as fortunate this time.
Down 37-28 with six minutes to go following a nightmare series of turnovers and missed open shots, the Owls suddenly found the range. Reserve Angie Baer and starter Kallie Smith accounted for a 12-0 run by getting three baskets apiece.
Baer crammed all her baskets into a three-minute span, and the last one, a 17-footer, propelled the home team into the lead for the first time at 38-37. Smith hit from the baseline, but after a foul shot by Tokasz, Erica Schroeder found Jasmine Hammond with a long pass, and the freshman made the layup to tie the score at 40.
A free throw by Selby, who ended with 15 points, gave the Owls their final lead before Tokasz and Olson finished off the game.
"I was proud of the way we played," Greenberg said, "because two of our starters, Darleena Hammond and Tia Richardson, were out because of a school-related matter. It should be cleared up in a few days."
The Eagles started out as if they would not miss the pair. Sophomore guard Ashley Evans hit a three-pointer and a driving layup, and the team bolted to an 8-2 lead.
However, Selby, working her way underneath, scored Westminster's first 10 points, and Smith tied the game at 12.
Centennial threatened to put away the opposition again, this time with a 12-0 run marked by balanced scoring.
Back came the Owls, closing to 25-18 at intermission.
Evans nailed her second three-pointer to restore a 10-point margin, and then it was the Eagles' turn to go into a trance with four turnovers and a half-dozen missed shots, letting Westminster get to a 32-27 deficit going to the final quarter.
Evans, a co-captain, led Centennial with 17 points, and as Greenberg pointed out, "I think she wore down."
Westminster coach Sue Conklin said, "We were flat in the first half, then had the opportunity, and it got to a point where we should have won. To get to that point is a positive. To finish it off is the next step."
Pub Date: 12/10/98