In a tie game with time running down in the fourth quarter Saturday against Atholton, Centennial put the ball in the hands of one of its senior leaders and asked her to make a play.
With a step-back 3-pointer in the final seconds, Jordan Dossett answered the call.
The basket by the Eagles’ guard ended up as the clinching points in a 47-44 victory, giving Centennial (4-6, 7-7) its second win this week in a game decided by six points or less.
“I just stepped back and let my practice flow to the game,” said Dossett, who finished with seven points. “I had a very delayed reaction. I’m not sure I knew what was going on, but I was very excited when the team came out. I was like ‘guys we did it, this is our even .500 and this is the momentum we needed.’
“I felt elated … I’ve never done that before.”
Centennial coach Rob Slopek said the initial play call while inbounding from the baseline was to look for a layup. When that didn’t materialize, the plan was to spread the floor and allow one of the team’s most experienced players to create something.
“We told Jordan in the timeout, it was going to be her shot … so for her to be able to hit that with the clock ticking down, she showed the confidence of a senior,” Slopek said. “It really unfolded how we wanted it to go and, for us, this definitely could be one we look back on as a momentum-building win.”
While Dossett hit the game-winning shot, Centennial got production from a number of different players throughout the game. Six different players finished with at least six points, including a team-high 10 points apiece from Tori Pearson and Olivia Reese.
Even the team’s usual leading scorer Rasa Welsh, who was held to just six points, found ways to contribute in other ways with team highs of 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocks.
As it turned out, the Eagles needed every single one of those contributions to outlast an Atholton team that battled back from a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to take the lead, 42-41, with 90 seconds remaining in regulation. The Raiders, who were led on the afternoon by 12 points apiece from Alex Hargrett and Sarah Sowah, were trying to build on a two-point victory over Marriotts Ridge earlier in the week.
Ultimately, however, Dossett spoiled those aspirations.
“You have to give Centennial credit, that was a heck of a shot that she made at the end of the game,” Atholton coach Julia Reynold said. “But we also know that it wasn’t just one shot that lost it for us. There are a couple things leading up to that play that we can improve on, making our foul shots and some better shot selection. Overall, though, I thought we did a great job of fighting through what was definitely a game of runs. We gave ourselves a real chance there at the end.”
After a tight opening quarter, it was Atholton that threatened to break things open in the early stages of the second quarter. The Raiders put together an 11-0 run, punctuated by a Hargrett 3-pointer with 4:26 left before halftime, to take their largest lead of the game at 21-12.
Centennial closed the gap before intermission, but Atholton still took a 25-23 lead into the break.
It was in the third quarter, though, that the Eagles made their own push into the driver’s seat. Centennial opened up the second half on an 8-0 run courtesy of a mix of layups from Pearson, Reese and Welsh.
The Eagles managed to maintain that lead all the way until the final minutes when a put-back basket by Zhuri Cannon helped Atholton go back in front. The two teams traded scores over the next minute to set up a tie game, following a layup by Atholton’s Julia Perlin, with just over 30 seconds to go.
That’s when Centennial held for what ended up being the final shot and Dossett delivered.
“Every season boils down to who is going to play their best basketball in February and March, so now we are in the very fortunate position to be coming into February on a two-game win streak,” Slopek said. “This was an important week for us, finding ways to close out games. Now we just have to keep that going.”
Centennial 47, Atholton 44
C (4-6, 7-7): Pearson 10, Reese 10, Anderson 7, Dossett 7, Molz 7, Welsh 6.
A (2-9, 4-12): A. Hargrett 12, Sowah 12, Perlin 7, Cannon 6, Blair 6, M. Hargrett 1.
Half: 25-23 A.
River Hill 56, Wilde Lake 20
The Hawks completed the season sweep of the Wildecats, while also snapping a two-game losing skid. Saniha Jackson (12 points) and Kennedy Clark (11) paced an offensive effort that saw eight different players score for River Hill.
RH (7-4, 10-7): Jackson 12, Clark 11, Masker 9, Smith 7, Patel 6, Devine 5, McCullough 4, O’Keefe 2.
WL (0-10, 1-13): Zimmerman 6, Swaby-Rowe 5, Corkeron 4, Richards 4, Mullican 1.
Half: 34-10 RH.
Reach Brent Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @BKBSunSports