Oakland Mills boys basketball coach Jon Browne said his team wanted to prove a point Tuesday night against Century.
The Scorpions certainly had enough trouble scoring them in the first six minutes of the first quarter.
They netted only a basket during that span, shooting 1-for-13 from the field. That poor stretch allowed Century to open with a 15-2 run, but the game was anything but a waltz for the Knights.
Century had to eke out 49-44 victory over Oakland Mills in a Class 2A West Section 2 semifinal.
The win ran the Knights' winning streak to 18 straight games.
"Our guys found a way to win," Century coach George Wunder said. "After that first quarter, it was really a game after that. We grinded it out. For us, it was on the defensive end of the floor. We made a lot of stops and had a lot of boards."
And Century got plenty of points from senior forward Chris Norman and senior point guard Zach Tucker. Norman scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Tucker totaled 21 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter.
"We were trying to get the ball out of his hands as much as possible," Browne said of Tucker, Carroll County's leading scorer. "He is a phenomenal player. He made some great plays late."
Sophomore guard Daeshawn Eaton led Oakland Mills with 16 points and teammate Jordan Hopkins, another senior guard, chipped in 10 points.
Century (20-2) led 31-30 going into the final quarter and slowly built a bigger lead. The Knights went ahead 37-32 on a Tucker free throw with 3:33 remaining and 1:28 later, they pushed the advantage to 43-35 on an Adam Rolfes layup.
The Scorpions, however, pushed the hosts in the final minute.
Oakland Mills (8-16) trimmed the margin to 45-41 with 29 seconds to go on Brian Wheelock's layup and the Scorpions got as close as 47-44 before a pair of Tucker free throws sealed the win.
The Knights got a scare when Tucker was knocked to the ground in the middle of the third quarter under the basket. He laid on a ground for a while before Wunder called a timeout. Tucker came out of the game, took a breather for a few seconds and went back in.
Shortly thereafter, Oakland Mills tied it at 24 on Jordan Tarver's 3-pointer.
But the Scorpions couldn't overtake Century in the period thanks to Norman, who had eight points in the quarter.
Still, the visitors trailed 31-30 at the end of the quarter.
"We made our runs, but we couldn't get over the hump and get the lead," Browne said.
Century led 15-4 at end of the first quarter, but Oakland Mills picked up its play in the second quarter. The Scorpions outscored the Knights in the first seven minutes, 12-3. Jordan Hopkins had five points during that sequence and all of them came on free throws.
Century took a 21-16 lead into the break and Rolfes finished the scoring in the period with a 3-pointer.
"The focus is all on us," Tucker said of himself and Norman. "But it's not just about us. We have threats all across the court, which opens up things for us."
Oakland Mills (44): Daeshawn Eaton 16, Jordan Hopkins 10, Jordan Tarver 8, Ke'von Simpson 6, Brian Wheelock 4.
Century (49): Adam Rolfes 4, Zach Tucker 21, Zach Owings 4, Chris Norman 18, Ashley Roberts 2.
Halftime: Century, 21-16.