Centennial survives sloppy game, 60-55 James' free throws beat Westminster Boys basketball

December 19, 1992|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

When asked how he thought he had played, Centennial's Mark James, the hero of yesterday's 60-55 win over visiting Westminster, scrunched up his nose a bit and shook his head.

"Made too many turnovers," the senior point guard said.

It was one of those games. Neither team was ecstatic about its play.

But James' four free throws in the final 53 seconds gave the Eagles their fourth win in five games and sent Westminster to its third defeat in five games.

On an afternoon when its offense wasn't clicking, Centennial picked up the slack with defense and controlled Westminster's huge front line that included 6-foot-7 Russell DeMont, 6-4 Brad Scobie and 6-3 Todd Dorsey.

DeMont had scored 28 Wednesday in Westminster's 74-43 win over Howard.

Unlike Howard, against which Westminster ran its fast break repeatedly, Centennial clamped off the Owls' running game with a 1-3-1 trap.

And one of the Eagles' strengths all season, their interior defense, played a 1-3-1 zone that held DeMont to 12 points by fronting and backing him.

"We were really concerned about their big guy [DeMont] on the base line," Centennial coach Jim Hill said. "We did allow them to throw the ball to the foul line, and then step up for the eight-foot jumper. That hurt us."

Offensively, the Eagles made 20 turnovers, failed to get their running game going and depended heavily on free throws for the win. Centennial was 19-for-23 at the foul line.

But Centennial's Seann Jones (16 points) had moments of brilliance offensively, including one stunning dunk in the first quarter that he turned into a three-point play.

Damian Biggs (15 points) nursed a sore ankle through three ineffective quarters until his eight-point fourth-quarter burst sparked the Eagles. Biggs hit a three-point shot, converted a three-pointer off a driving layup and hit another long shot in that quarter.

His three-point drive put Centennial ahead 54-49 with 1:51 left to play.

Dorsey (15 points) made a long shot with 58 seconds left, pulling Westminster to 54-51.

James then made two free throws with 53 seconds left. Two driving baskets by Westminster point guard Matt Brightful (six points) made it 56-55 with 26 seconds left. But Brightful fouled out, sending James to the line with 26 seconds left.

And Centennial's point guard made both free throws.

Jones stole Westminster's inbounds pass and made two free throws for the final points.

Centennial shot 19-for-52 from the field. Westminster was 24-for-52.

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