Centennial sinks free throws, Glenelg

February 01, 1996|By Chuck Acquisto | Chuck Acquisto,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Centennial continued improving in two critical areas with yesterday's 66-58 victory over visiting Glenelg.

In staving off the scrappy Gladiators (5-7, 1-6), No. 17 Centennial (11-3) converted its final 12 free throws and 17 of 21 overall in the fourth quarter.

Success at the line (22 of 29 for the game) allowed the Eagles to chalk up their county-leading sixth win against just one defeat (Atholton). Last season they finished 2-12 in the county and graduated seven seniors.

"Yeah, I'm surprised at where we're at [in the standings]," coach Jim Hill said.

"We could just as easily have been 0-5 instead of jumping off to a 5-0 start in-county. In our first game this season, we shot just 38 percent from the foul line. Now we're up to 64 percent so I'm really happy considering where we started."

With Centennial leading scorer Matt Laycock (five points) stuck on the bench for much of the game with foul trouble, the Eagles received a lift from senior George Mitroka as the power forward notched 22 points, 11 rebounds and four steals.

In a wild second quarter that had 11 lead changes, the biggest came with Centennial trailing 31-29 with less than 40 seconds left in the half. Eagles junior forward Denny Chapman hit a three-pointer, was fouled on the play and made his free throw to complete a rare four-point play to put Centennial up, 33-31.

Glenelg senior forward Robin Davis (20 points, 10 rebounds) capped a 9-0 run midway through the third quarter to put the Gladiators in front, 40-37.

"Our defense got a little shoddy after that and we missed some traps. I felt like it was our game for the first three quarters and we let it slip away," Davis said.

Davis kept Glenelg close in the fourth quarter, scoring the Gladiators' first eight points, including a lay-up that produced Glenelg's final lead, 48-46, with just under five minutes remaining in the contest.

Centennial then began a parade to the free-throw line in which the Eagles made eight of nine attempts, and got a backdoor lay-up by junior forward Brian Otten (12 points).

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