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2nd half blanket warms Centennial, 43-27; Down one at half, Eagles hold, surpass River Hill


Centennial's smothering defense held River Hill to 11 second-half points -- three in the pivotal third-quarter -- en route to a 43-27 victory at Centennial last night.

"We're really happy with this win," said Centennial coach Dave Greenberg. "That's our style of ball. Great, great defense. I was really proud of them."

River Hill led 16-15 at halftime, but Centennial's swarming defense and some unwise decisions led to a disastrous third quarter for the Hawks.

Ashley Evans, the Eagles' leading scorer, went scoreless in the first half. But she made her first attempt of the second half to open the scoring and that put a spark in Centennial's play. Baskets by Alexia Vogler and Evans gave the Eagles a 21-16 lead 75 seconds into the third quarter, and Centennial was on its way to taking control.

Rashida Walcott's basket with 6: 22 cut Centennial's lead to 21-18, but the Hawks didn't score again until Walcott made one of two free throws with 47 seconds left. By then, Centennial had a 27-19 lead. The Hawks committed eight turnovers the third quarter, and made only one of six field goal attempts.

Centennial (10-1 overall, 7-0 league) led by 13 with 3: 39 left in the game, but two baskets by Keiko Miller and one by Outen made it a seven-point margin with 2: 20 remaining. But the Hawks (5-6, 4-3) committed four turnovers the rest of the way, and Centennial ended the game with a nine-point run.

"They just play tough defense and took it to us," said Miller, who led the Hawks with 16 points, 10 in the first half.

"Centennial came out with its tough defense, and we came out offensively too indecisive," said River Hill coach Teresa Waters. "I don't think we came out having total heart and desire. The bottom line is that we didn't deliver as a team."

Said Outen, who scored six points: "We took ourselves out [of the game], they didn't. We didn't play hard. We didn't have heart."

That was not a problem for Centennial, which was led by senior guard Stacie Tokasz's 13 points, nine of them from three three-point baskets.

"We had a lot of solid contributions from a lot of players," said Greenberg, who praised the play of Erika Schroeder, Maggie Via, Lisa Richardson and Amanda Olsen. "I thought this was our best effort of the year. The kids really worked hard."

Tia Richardson finished with 10 points for the Eagles, and Evans added eight. Darlena Hammond did a very good job defensively against Outen, who had 22 points in River Hill's double-overtime win over Mount Hebron Monday.

In a strange scene, one official suffered a leg injury with 2: 35 left in the third quarter and took himself out of the game. Both coaches said playing with one official didn't make a difference.

The start of the game was delayed by a ceremony honoring Greenberg, who won his 400th game Monday at Wilde Lake. A framed jersey with his name and the number 400 was presented to him. After the game, a reception was held in the cafeteria.

Pub Date: 1/14/99

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