By SAM McGAW | Photos by STEVE WHEELER
A barrage of three-pointers sank the Centennial Cougars in Tuesday’s Region 6-AAA semifinal matchup against Cane Ridge.
The Ravens scored 53 points with 10 threes in the second half to eliminate Centennial with a 77-56 win at Antioch High School.
“You just try to weather the storm,” Centennial head coach Pete Froedden said. “We had too many turnovers and that led to momentum baskets, and that’s what you can’t give up against them.”
Cane Ridge had five players reach double-figures in scoring, as the team closed with 15 made threes.
“They were hot and they stayed hot,” Centennial senior Hayden Pearson said. “They did not get off their hot streak. It’s kind of hard to guard when they’re hitting like that.”
Cane Ridge (26-6) will battle Franklin (27-5) for the Region 6-AAA championship Thursday at Antioch.
Tuesday’s victory also sends the Ravens to the Class AAA sectional round for the first time in program history.
“I told the guys to appreciate the moment,” Cane Ridge head coach Marlin Simms said. “We’ve overcome a lot this season. To be in this situation really speaks for these young men. This is a tough team; a tough group of kids.”
After entering halftime tied at 24, the Ravens outscored Centennial 18-7 in the first four minutes of the third quarter.
They made seven of their nine three-point attempts during the frame.
Centennial starting point guard Tre Carlton scored 14 points before he aggravated a shoulder injury late in the third quarter. The same injury knocked him out of Saturday’s matchup against Hunters Lane.
“Obviously, Tre wasn’t 100 percent, but he’s still a warrior,” Froedden said. “He wanted to be out there battling. He struggled to make some passes he normally could make. He just couldn’t quite get it there with his arm. You want to give him an opportunity because he’s a warrior and he’s been like that all year.”
Dusty Williams scored 16 points and Ahsharri Haynesworth added 13 for the Cougars.
Jonathon Howard, Taeon Stewart and Chantz Hillsman scored 13 points apiece for Cane Ridge, while William Hoyle and Jaylen Whittaker scored 12 each.
Centennial (17-14), the District 11-AAA tournament runner-up, won seven of its last nine matchups entering the semifinal bout.
“This has been a heck of a ride,” Froedden said. “What you’re most proud of is that guys care about each other. You want to win games and win championships, and those things are so fun and memorable, but the most memorable thing is you made a relationship that you’re going to have for the rest of your life.”