Accuracy at line pays off for Atholton Raiders get past No. 14 Centennial, 58-55

January 27, 1996|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Atholton shot proficiently at the free-throw line last night, making 18 of 24.

And the payoff for that accuracy was a 58-55 Raiders' victory over Centennial and a share of the Howard County league lead.

Atholton (8-4 overall, 4-1 league) ended No. 14 Centennial's nine-game winning streak, but not before surviving some harrowing moments at the end of the game.

Chip Harrison's three-point basket pulled the Eagles to within a point with 22 seconds left.

Then Keith Jefferson (12 points) sank two free throws for the Raiders, making it 58-55 with 15 seconds left.

Denny Chapman (15 points) and Harrison, two of Centennial's best three-point shooters, each got open for three-point shots, but both missed chances to tie in the closing seconds.

Chapman had pulled Centennial (10-2, 4-1) back into the game in the third quarter when Atholton threatened to pull away.

The Raiders held their biggest lead at 42-34 late in that period until Chapman got hot.

He sank a long two-pointer and two three-pointers to cut Atholton's lead to 46-44 at the end of the period. Centennial sank seven three-pointers in all and Chapman had three.

"I had never heard of that guy [Chapman], but I know who he is now," said Atholton's Tyrone Allmond (14 points). "Our quickness made the difference. We wanted to go to the basket and draw fouls and we did."

Nat Watkins led Atholton with 16 points.

Both teams were in foul trouble at halftime, as Jefferson and Centennial point guard Scott Bross each had three and two other players on each team had two.

Atholton stayed away from fouls in the second half, however. At one point late in that half Centennial had commited 10 fouls and Atholton just two. Centennial went to the foul line just six times in the game, making all six.

"That's life," Centennial coach Jim Hill said about the foul differential.

"These were two evenly matched teams and I thought Atholton deserved to win tonight. This brings us back to reality."

It was Centennial's third road game of the week and the Eagles won two of three.

"That's good, but we would have liked this one," Hill said.

Atholton coach Jim Albert was pleased with his team's improved rebounding efforts.

MA "But Centennial still scored a lot on second shots," he said.

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