Centennial is the kind of team that just keeps plugging away no matter what the odds.
The Eagles, fresh off an upset of Long Reach Saturday, lifted themselves to the .500 mark by defeating Oakland Mills, 45-35, at Centennial yesterday.
The Scorpions had beaten Centennial earlier this season by 10 points.
But yesterday the Eagles (9-9 overall, 6-8 Howard County league) outshot Oakland Mills, handled the ball better and played better defense.
"We gave them a couple of different looks on defense, and they didn't seem to know what to do with it," Eagles coach Jim Hill said. "It wasn't pretty. It was a workmanlike performance. We did what we had to do."
Matt Skalka led the Eagles with 19 points. The 6-foot-2 junior is Centennial's leading scorer with a 12.9 average, after averaging 16 points on the JV team last season.
"The Long Reach win gave us a lot of momentum," Skalka said. "We fed off that for this game. Our team has underachieved a little this season, losing some games we should have won. But if we keep going the way we are, we'll be good by the end of the season, hopefully in time for the playoffs."
Skalka thought the key to beating Oakland Mills was free throws. Each team shot 14, but Oakland Mills made only five while the Eagles converted 13.
Centennial's last nine points were on free throws, including two by Matt Lambie with 2:39 left in the game following the ejection of Oakland Mills forward Dennis Lange for a flagrant foul.
"Oakland Mills played hard, but they lost their focus after the ejection," Skalka said. "We rebounded when we needed to, got some clutch stops and played really good defense."
The Scorpions (3-13, 2-11) have struggled offensively, but yesterday's 35 points were the second fewest of the season.
"We played hard but the ball just wasn't going in," Scorpions coach Dave Appleby said. "I applaud the effort. The guys continue to play hard despite the losing. We need a finisher."
Alex Douyan led Oakland Mills with nine points.
Oakland Mills out-rebounded Centennial 29-19, but committed 16 turnovers to 10 for the Eagles.
The Scorpions shot just 31 percent (15-for-48) from the field, while Centennial shot 39 percent (15-for-38).
Glenelg 51, No. 16 Long Reach 38: Center Dallas Davidson scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half to rally the visiting Gladiators past the Lightning. It was Glenelg's sixth win in seven games.
The Gladiators (10-8 overall, 7-7 Howard County league) made 15 of 21 free throws, while Long Reach (14-4, 10-4) never got to the foul line.