Carver pulls off upset of Centennial, 73-72 Eagles' late surge not enough in semifinal

March 01, 1996|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Centennial put on a show in the fourth quarter last night at Carver. Led by Matt Laycock, the Eagles scored 27 points, grabbed 10 offensive rebounds and held the Bears to only three baskets.

But the Centennial rally could not overcome the hole it dug in the first three quarters. Nate Wingo scored 21 points while Gabriel Brooks added 15 with nine assists as Carver upset Centennial, 73-72, in a Class 3A East region semifinal.

Carver (4-18), which will play host to Dunbar in the region final tomorrow at 1 p.m., led from the start and its pressure on defense seemed to throw Centennial (18-6) out of its offensive rhythm.

"We wanted to keep pressure on the ball at all times," said Carver coach Durce Jackson. "I thought putting pressure on the ball would frustrate them and cause them to have more turnovers than they would want."

And that happened right from the start. The Eagles looked sluggish early and turned the ball over 20 times -- which Carver converted into 21 points.

"We just came out lackadaisical," said Laycock. "We had to play smarter, and we didn't, especially at the beginning."

The slow start helped the Bears -- 76-56 winners over Howard earlier in the week -- take a 39-27 halftime lead. Brooks and fellow guard Miquel Wilson (19 points), both just up from the junior varsity, played strong, passing to Wingo and other teammates for easy baskets.

The Bears stretched their lead to 16 early in the fourth quarter before Laycock got his team going. He score 10 of his game-high 30 points in the final quarter.

Laycock also helped on the boards, pulling down seven of his 13 rebounds as the Eagles scored 16 of the game's final 23 points. Carver lost its two big men, Robert Williams (11 rebounds) and Tavon George, to fouls and Laycock took command inside.

Laycock scored seven straight to slice the lead to 66-60 with 3:37 left. Chip Harrison and G.A. Mi

troka (10 points) each made key baskets -- to make it 71-69 with 1:24 left.

Wingo made two free throws with 32 seconds left, but Harrison sank a three-pointer with 21 seconds remaining. Carver turned it over twice, and the Eagles gave it up once but had the ball for a final shot with 3.3 seconds left.

Harrison got the ball near the top of the key, but his shot came up short and the Centennial season ended.

Centennial, which also got 13 points from Denny Chapman, dominated the fourth quarter as it limited the Bears to four rebounds. Carver clearly began running out of gas, and the young Bears looked shaky at the free-throw line, missing 12 of 19.

The Eagles also helped themselves by rebounding well at the offensive end. Ten of their 27 points came on second chances.

Centennial played strongly in the fourth quarter. It just took the Eagles a little too long to get going.

"We didn't adjust well to them," said Centennial coach Jim Hill. "We knew what to do, we just didn't execute very well."

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