Centennial beats Atholton in Class 3A East girls basketball regional quarterfinal

Alston's show with 6 seconds left gives Eagles 37-35 win

March 02, 2010|By Katherine Dunn | katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

Centennial's Kenitra Alston wasn't having a good second half in Monday night's Class 3A East girls basketball regional quarterfinal at Atholton, so coach Rob Slopek pulled her aside and told her she was playing too timidly.

The talk worked for the junior guard, who hit a short jump shot off a pass from Julia Benjamin with six seconds remaining to give the Eagles a 37-35 victory. Centennial (15-5) advances to meet River Hill in Wednesday's semifinal.

"He told me, 'You need to start playing like I know you can. I have confidence in you, and you should have confidence in yourself.' I guess that's just what I needed to hear, because when I turned to shoot that shot, I felt it. I felt like it was going in," said Alston, who finished with 12 points.

Alston said she was looking for Benjamin, who made a tough pass from the corner, where she had been trapped earlier in the game.

"The previous time, she told me to cut to the basket because it was wide open," Alston said. "So I knew she was looking right down the middle for me, so I just cut there and she got it to me and I made the shot."

The Eagles also got a couple of key baskets from Michelle Klima early in the fourth quarter to bring them from two points down to a 35-34 lead. Amber Cook, who led the Raiders with 13 points, hit two free throws with 1:43 to go to give Atholton its last lead.

After Alston's basket, the Raiders (13-8) had one last chance to tie it when Cook sent a long pass off the inbounds play and Bridgette Snyder did a great job to control the ball and try for a layup that just missed.

The game was the third between the Howard County rivals this season decided in the final minute. Centennial won the final regular-season game for both, 38-36.

C-Downing 4, Pino 3, Klima 4, Alston 12, Benjamin 6, Miller 5, Kelly 3. Totals 13 9-11 37.

A-Makar 3, Snyder 12, Cook 13, Vitagliano 2, Weinberg 4, Pattrillo 2. Totals 12 10-16 36. Half: A, 30-28.

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