Thomas Johnson repels pesky Centennial, 62-59 Boys basketball

December 12, 1992|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

Phil Williams, Thomas Johnson's 6-foot-8, 270-pound center who has signed with Penn State, scored the winning basket on a put-back layup with 28 seconds left, as the visiting Patriots turned back an inspired Centennial basketball team yesterday, 62-59.

The Eagles (2-1) led nearly wire to wire against the highly regarded Patriots (3-0), who were averaging 102 points per game. They had beaten Oakland Mills, 87-65, on Monday.

Thomas Johnson, which trailed 42-29 with 6:30 left in the third quarter, took its first lead, 58-57, on two free throws by 6-3 Jamaal West (12 points) with 1:36 left.

West's three 17-foot jumpers late in the game proved decisive for Thomas Johnson.

"Our guards were too small to guard him [West], and we didn't have anyone we could afford to pull out from underneath," said Eagles coach Jim Hill.

The Eagles out-hustled Thomas Johnson until the fourth period when they began to tire.

The Eagles' 2-3 zone defense was effective. Centennial guards Mark James and Mark Lee pressured Thomas Johnson's inexperienced guards, and Damian Biggs, Brian Hulka and Chris Bosely doubled down on Williams (15 points) to prevent him from getting the ball.

James played remarkably well against strong pressure at point guard. He made several passes that led to back-door layups.

Lee (eight points) was almost as impressive until he was injured on the last play of the third quarter. Williams knocked him down and fell on Lee's knee.

Centennial's defense shut down Thomas Johnson's Mike Anders (eight points), who was averaging 34 points.

Centennial jumped to a 19-13 lead after one quarter, led by a seven-point effort from star forward Damian Biggs. But Biggs, who was averaging 24 points, never scored again and made five turnovers on poor passes. He also missed a shot with five seconds left that would have put Centennial ahead.

The Eagles, getting points from six different players, increased their lead to 36-26 at halftime. They were 15-for-26 from the field that half, but 7-for-22 in the second half. They made two baskets in the fourth quarter, when they were outscored, 17-10.

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