Glenelg controlled the boards, held Centennial to two free throws in the fourth quarter and got double-figure scoring from four starters en route to a convincing 52-31 victory yesterday at Centennial.
"Everything we wanted to do well in this game we did," said Glenelg senior center Kris Brust, who had 12 points -- six off offensive rebounds -- and nine rebounds.
The eighth-ranked Gladiators (12-0, 8-0) moved into sole possession of first place in the county after holding the 17th-ranked Eagles (10-2, 7-1) to their lowest offensive output this season.
"Glenelg played very well, especially offensively in the fourth quarter," said Centennial coach Dave Greenberg, whose team was outscored 17-2 in the final eight minutes. "They have some kids that have very good skills. I thought Lauren Martin played really well.
"We had tons of opportunities, but we either made poor decisions or missed shots," Greenberg continued. "And we did a horrendous job on the boards. We kept giving them extra opportunities."
The Gladiators earned those second chances with their intensity and desire.
"They just seemed to want it more," said Centennial sophomore guard Ashley Evans, who had three three-pointers and finished with a game-high 17 points.
"This team really plays to win. We feel we can win every game," said Martin, who had eight of her team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter. "Everyone on this team is a competitor. No one wants to lose."
The only time Glenelg looked out of sync was at the start of the third quarter, and the Eagles took advantage for a 6-0 run that cut their deficit to 23-20 with 6: 43 left. That's when Glenelg sophomore guard Heather Young, a transfer from Annapolis High, took over and made a series of big plays.
Her basket with 5: 13 remaning gave Glenelg a 25-20 lead, then, after an Evans' score, she came up with an offensive rebound when Brust missed the second of two free throws. That possession led to a basket by Stephanie Howell (10 points) and a 27-22 lead.
Young, who finished with 10 points and a team-high 14 rebounds, then cut in front of a Centennial pass and was fouled going up for a breakaway layup. She made both free throws for a 29-22 lead. A three-point play by Centennial's Tia Richardson cut the lead to four, but Young responded with a tough shot in the lane for a 31-25 advantage with 2: 35 left in the period. Glenelg maintained that margin, taking a 35-29 advantage into the final quarter.
Centennial, which went scoreless for six minutes in the first quarter and four minutes in the second quarter, went 0-for-14 from the field and committed five turnovers in the fourth quarter. Trailing 50-29, Evans made two free throws with a minute left for the Eagles' only points.
Basketball teams were not allowed to practice at school and with their coach until Friday last week because of exams. Many Glenelg players did practice together, and sometimes they ended up with games against boys. That paid off against the Eagles.
"I think this is the best we've played all season," Young said. "We had a lot of intensity."
"We worked really hard on defense," said Brust, who had three fouls entering the second half and picked up her fourth with 5: 56 left in the fourth quarter. "We ran our rotations really well. Everyone was where they were supposed to be."
Glenelg coach Ciaran Lesikar, a 1984 Centennial graduate in his third season coaching the Gladiators, had never beaten his alma mater. But this time Glenelg had an answer for everything Centennial tried.
"We handled their pressure better than we have at any time before," Lesikar said.
Lesikar called the victory "a confidence builder" and "a reward for all their hard work. They really believe in each other."
Pub Date: 1/24/99