By SAM McGAW | Photos by STEVE WHEELER
Centennial’s Region 6-AAA quarterfinal bout against Hunters Lane Saturday was a tale of two halves.
After entering halftime with a one-point deficit, Centennial outscored the Warriors 44-18 in the second half to take a 74-49 win at Antioch High School.
“It was about guys trying to find their voice in the midst of this kind of environment for the first time,” Centennial head coach Peter Froedden said. “Could they relax, think, play hard and talk to each other and deal with the adversity as they see it? In the first half we didn’t do that, but in the second half we held them to 18 points, which is more than what we need to be at this time of year. That’s the piece I’m more proud of than anything.”
Centennial’s Dusty Williams scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half. Hunters Lane (9-15) hit seven of 28 shot attempts in the final two quarters.
“After halftime, we decided as a team we should start doing how we played against Franklin and Brentwood, and just give the same intensity,” Williams said. “That’s what changed the game.”
Centennial (17-13) will battle Cane Ridge (25-6) in a Region 6-AAA semifinal Tuesday at Antioch.
The Cougars played shorthanded for most of Saturday’s game, as they lost starting point guard Tre Carlton to an undisclosed injury with 6:52 left in the second quarter. In addition, they were without center Ahsharri Haynesworth for the entire second frame as he sat with two fouls.
“You like to think certain guys will step up, but until it happens, you’re not sure,” Froedden said. “I thought Isaac Bailey came in and played a heck of a second half. Tre went down in the (District 11-AAA tournament) and (Bailey) came in and didn’t play quite as sound. This time, he comes in and is ready for the moment.”
Bailey scored all seven of his points on foul shots. Carlton had four points before his exit.
Hayden Pearson delivered a much-needed burst for the Cougars in the second quarter. The senior hit three 3-pointers in the frame, including one that pushed his team ahead 27-24 with 3:13 remaining in the half.
He closed with 17 points and five made three-pointers.
“He kept us in it in the first half,” Froedden said. “He made a couple of threes where we got down and guys were unsure of themselves. It takes a senior that’s been here – this is the third time he’s been (in the regional tournament). He kind of calmed us and gave us an opportunity to find our voice in the second half.”
Haynesworth added 12 points and Andrew Ellison scored nine for the Cougars.
Kendall Winston led Hunters Lane with 26 points.