Fairmont Heights defeats Centennial

Eagles shoot 27 percent from field in 68-41 loss

2A South boys basketball

High School

March 01, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Yes, they were a few steps slow, and yes, they were a few jumpers short.

Centennial coach Jim Hill would admit that much after seeing his team get trounced by Fairmont Heights, 68-41, in the 2A South Region semifinal yesterday, at Fairmont Heights. But the Eagles were not hanging their heads.

"I don't want to take anything away from [Fairmont Heights], but this was not our team tonight," Hill said. "They're a very good team, very talented, but we weren't afraid to play with them. We just had a horrible shooting night."

The truth was certainly in the numbers. Against Fairmont Heights' aggressive defense, Centennial, the most fundamentally sound team in Howard County, shot and icy 15 of 55 from the floor (27 percent) and turned the ball over 27 times. The head-scratching display was even more frustrating, considering it came on the heels of the Eagles' biggest win of the season, 74-71 over Gwyn Park in the quarterfinals.

"I think we got down early, and we tried to get it all back at once," Hill said. "The more we fell behind, the more we tried to get 10 points every basket. We just didn't do it."

Centennial's troubles began and ended with Hornets' point guard Chris McCray, one of the top scorers in the Baltimore-Washington area. Averaging 29.3 points coming in, McCray gracefully wove his way between Centennial's red jerseys all night, hitting four three-pointers and tossing down one flashy breakaway dunk en route to 26 points on the night.

"I felt confident today," McCray said. "My teammates and I just wanted to prove we could beat anyone as long as we play defense. We felt like when they played Gwyn Park, they didn't see a lot of pressure, so we just tried to keep them from getting open looks."

It may not have mattered, considering the Hornets' overall depth, but Centennial might have made it interesting had they earned a few early breaks.

Scott Kincaid and Brian O'Connor got a number of good looks at the basket early, but too many shots rimmed out.

"I certainly don't want one game to ruin four great years," Hill said afterward, speaking of his five seniors, O'Connor, Kincaid, Tyler Enstice, Anthony McPhail and Kevin Laycock. "I know they're upset right now, but they're the heart of two back-to-back county titles. Not many schools can say that. I'm still very happy."

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