STORY BY CHIP CIRILLO | PHOTO BY DEB SCALLY
Centennial kept making runs and Brentwood kept holding them off.
Jack Thurman led the Bruins with 17 points despite spending over seven minutes of the second half on the bench in foul trouble in a 58-56 win over Centennial at Brentwood on Tuesday night.
“Centennial is a great team and coach (Pete) Froedden is an excellent coach,” Bruins coach Greg Shirley said. “Last year, I think the district championship was one of the best in Williamson County history. Two great teams.”
Brentwood (14-4, 6-1) edged Centennial 77-76 in overtime in last year’s District 11-AAA championship. Tuesday was more of the same except it was decided in regulation.
Isaiah Poore’s 3-pointer narrowed Brentwood’s lead to 57-56 with 26.7 seconds left and Joey McPherson’s foul shot finished the scoring with 2.2 seconds remaining after four lane violations by Centennial.
“We just ran our stuff, made free throws and held them off,” Brentwood guard John Windley said. “Free throws are always important. Miss free throws, you lose the game and that’s happened to us all throughout the season. We made them this game and we pulled it out.”
Brentwood made 10 of 14 foul shots in the fourth quarter and 20 of 25 for the game. Windley made all eight of his and scored 11 points.
Centennial (10-7, 4-3) made only 6 of 12 foul shots in the fourth quarter and 11 of 22 for the game.
“We missed (11) free throws and that’s the difference tonight if you just look at it statistically,” Froedden said. “That’s reared its head lately. We’ve got to make sure we get in the lab and figure out what we need to do to make free throws at a higher clip.”
Brentwood remains tied for first with Franklin (14-4, 6-1) in the district standings although the Rebels own the tie-breaker with a November win over the Bruins.
Franklin visits Brentwood in a crucial game next Tuesday night.
Centennial slipped to fourth behind Dickson County (10-5, 4-2).
Dusty Williams led the Cougars with 18 points and Tre Carlton added 11.
Brentwood ended a two-game skid after falling to Mt. Juliet and Red Bank at the Willie Brown Memorial Tournament last week.
“I think we got our focus back,” Shirley said. “I think there’s another step that we can and will take to become the team we need to be. I think it’s just making more consistent plays.”
Preston Moore scored 13 for the Bruins, who trailed by two in the second quarter before going on a 13-0 run.
Brentwood’s Cole Massey and Centennial’s Alex Wall and Andrew Ellison all fouled out in a tightly-called game with 47 fouls.
“I’ve got to do a little better job coaching them proper defensive stances so we’re not reaching in and getting some of the bad reach-in fouls that we had,” Shirley said.
Centennial fell behind 37-24 at halftime, but narrowed the gap to eight with a third-quarter surge. The Cougars kept getting closer, but couldn’t catch the Bruins.
“I think it was more putting yourself in the hole and just trying to dig yourself out the whole game,” Froedden said. “I don’t think our guys really were locked in on the scouring report as much as they should have been early and it took a little bit of getting down before some things clicked in.”
Centennial hosts Ravenwood on Friday.
Brentwood visits Independence on Friday.