The Centennial Cougars boys’ basketball team defeated the Independence Eagles in overtime 73-62 to remain undefeated in district play (4-0) at Independence High School Thursday night.

“We have a senior laden group that understands how (to win),” said Centennial head coach Tyler Hickman. “The sign of a good team sometimes is winning one that you shouldn’t. It is a big deal (to remain undefeated). Our guys talk about it and we talk about it. This district is tough. You are going to have some games where you are going to have to gut it out.”

“We were able to start strong and finish strong,” said Centennial guard Dusty Williams. “We fought hard and were able to come out on top.”

In the first quarter, Centennial held a narrow lead 18-15, as each side hit tough shots from the three-point line and clutch layups.

The second quarter remained tight as both teams had an impact from the free throw line, but the Cougars kept their lead 34-30.

In the third quarter, Centennial continued the downpour from the three-point line to stretch their lead to 50-45.

The Independence Eagles powered back in the fourth quarter by taking advantage of opportunities from the charity line and sticking in tough mid-range shots and layups in the paint to tie the game at 60.

Williams hit a three in the first possession of overtime to help the Cougars regain the lead. Stout defense provided the spark Centennial needed to capture the victory 73-62.

Williams lead all scorers with 27 points and was one of three players in double figures for Centennial. Junior guard Patrick Garrett and senior post player Andrew Ellison each tallied 11 points.  

“It is crazy that he (Dusty) sat out most of the first half with fouls and could flat out score it (in the second half),” said Hickman. “I do not feel that any of our play was selfish tonight. We played good team ball with great shots.”

“We were able to make a big impact,” said Williams. “Once we had a team mindset going on, we were able to get people open shots and layups.”

Independence senior guard Hrishi Saltri lead the Eagles with 20 points. Senior guard Noah Crook chipped in 14 points and sophomore post player Cameron Bell contributed 12 points.

Independence will travel to Pensacola Florida for tournament play over the winter break.

Centennial will travel to a tournament in Fort Walton Beach Florida over the holiday break.

“We have to build on what we do as a team,” said Coach Hickman.

“We are expecting to go down there and play our basketball,” said Williams.

Independence Lady Eagles basketball team soars to victory over Centennial

The Lady Eagles remained undefeated in conference play (2-0) with a victory over the Centennial Lady Cougars 58-41 Thursday night at Independence High School.

“The most important games of the year are district games,” said Independence head coach Bryan Glasner. “It is big for our kids to believe in what we are trying to do (here). It’s important for them to believe in each other.”

The first quarter began as a back and forth battle, but Independence’s stout defense helped them pull away 13-7.

Before halftime, the Lady Eagles extended their lead with clutch three pointers and connected with big baskets in the paint to lead at halftime 28-15.

In the third quarter, Independence kept surging from the three-point line to power their way to a 41-26 lead.

The final quarter was very productive for the Lady Eagles as they sealed the victory with a mixture of mid-range jumpers and three point shots to win 58-41.

Independence freshman Jaylin Banks led all scorers with 21 points.

“She has great skills for a young athlete and is on the verge of being a great player,” said Coach Glasner.

Centennial’s leading scorer was sophomore Tyra Pettaway with 11 points.

Independence will travel to Riverdale for tournament play over the winter holiday.

Centennial will have a break before continuing district play on January 3. 

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