Words: Giana Han
Photos: Sabrina Han
Centennial boys’ varsity basketball beat Howard in its first close match of the season.
The game started out slow, and by the end of the first quarter, the score was only 11-10 with Howard in the lead.
However, by the second quarter the Eagle’s were able to pull ahead. Coach Chad Hollwedel substituted several players off the bench in as he looked for the right dynamic. Some of the senior starters stepped up as well.
Senior Chad Strothers had several key three pointers, and senior Kevin Wilson helped minimize the number of second chance points from Howard with big defensive rebounds. By the end of the half, the Eagles were up by one basket, 25-23.
Both teams came out of half time with a lot of energy, each team battling to gain its next points. The game got physical fast. By the beginning of the fourth quarter, the teams were shooting one and one (seven team fouls).
All through the second half, the Eagles and the Lions were neck and neck. With 2:54 left in the game and Howard up 42-41, a double technical was called, and one of Howard’s starters was sent out of the game for committing his fifth foul.
The Eagles caught up with a made foul shot, and then senior Isaiah White made two more to gain the lead of 44-42 with 35.6 seconds left. The Lions quickly scored two of their own to send the game into overtime.
Seniors I. White, Strothers, and Wilson, along with junior Tom Brown and sophomore Elijah White played out the extra four minutes.
For 1:54, neither team was able to score until I. White was able to break the tie with a lay-up. Within a few seconds, E. White stole the ball back and passed it to Strothers for another lay-up, putting the Eagles up 48-44.
Howard returned with a jumper, and Centennial called a time out. 12 seconds within returning from the time out, I. White scored again, but a foul gave the Lions a chance to bring the game within two again.
Again, Centennial scored with a lay-up from E. White and Howard answered. However, after I. White scored the next points, a block from E. White prevented the Lions from closing the gap. The Lions had to resort to fouling to stop the clock.
Unfortunately for Howard, I. White and Strothers both made all their final foul shots, and Howard’s final three pointer from Patrick O’Malley was not enough to tie the game. The Eagles were able to finish the game out with a final score of 57-53.
“It was a confidence booster,” said I. White. “It was proof that we can close a game out. If we continue to play together, we’ll be fine.”
Centennial emerged victorious with impressive performances by many of its players. Brown contributed seven points and seven rebounds while Strothers put up 15 points and 5 rebounds.
In addition to scoring an impressive 27 points, blocking 4 shots, rebounding 7 balls, and getting one steal, I. White was also awarded the Player of the Week award from former Washington Bullet, Phil Chenier. Chenier attended the game to make a public announcement and gave I. White two tickets to the Washington Wizards’ game on Sunday.
“It was a little bit of pressure. People who had never seen me play before wanted to see why I got it,” said I. White. However, by topping the stats charts for points, rebounds, and blocks, I. White was able to show those spectators why.