Centennial's Meredith Price convinced her coach last night that she can play under pressure. And in the process, the senior forward led 12th-ranked Centennial past No. 9 Wilde Lake, 49-43, in overtime at Wilde Lake.
"She says that she enjoys pressure," said Centennial coach Dave Greenberg, "and I'm not going to argue with her. She played very well. She really stepped up big for us."
Price made two free throws with five seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 40, then scored the first six points in overtime.
"It was her game," said Wilde Lake coach Kelly Storr. "She was doing everything."
Price, The Sun's Player of the Year in volleyball who is headed to North Carolina State on a scholarship, finished with a season-high 22 points, including 10 of 13 from the line.
"I was pretty confident going up to the line [with five seconds remaining]," said Price, who had to contend with a noisy home crowd. "I like the loud noise. It doesn't give me a chance to think about not missing it. All you can do is concentrate on what you're doing."
Said Centennial's Kathleen O'Connor: "Those free throws totally changed the momentum. We couldn't lose after that."
Wilde Lake, which defeated Centennial on a three-point basket with six seconds left in regulation in December, took a 40-38 lead with 21 seconds remaining on a 10-footer by Alicia Bates.
"I thought we had the game," Bates said.
Centennial (9-5, 8-2) called a timeout with 10 seconds left. O'Connor, inbounding the ball near the half-court line, threw long to Michelle Kincaid near the basket. Kincaid missed, but Icyis Richardson rebounded. Richardson missed the put-back, but Price rebounded and was fouled going up by Lashon White.
White missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Price's second basket in overtime gave the Eagles a 46-40 lead with 1: 13 left. Wilde Lake (10-4, 8-2) missed three field-goal attempts, two free throws and had a turnover before Toni White (14 points) made a three-pointer with 58 seconds. It was Wilde Lake's only overtime basket.
"We just ran out of steam at the end," said Storr, whose team took a 30-25 lead into the fourth quarter. "When we had to get rebounds, we weren't boxing out. They're a real good team. We are, too. I'm glad we don't have to play them again."
Greenberg called it "a good team win" and said it was "huge" for his team's confidence. "It gives us some impetus for the rest of the season. It shows that we're making strides."
Said Price: "We had been out-hustled by them the first time and didn't want that to happen again. We showed poise, hustle and a lot of heart."
Pub Date: 1/25/97