Boys squad shaking off rust
The Centennial High School boys basketball team was a bit out of sync when it resumed its schedule last week after a 17-day layoff between games.
After losing at Charleston (W.Va.) George Washington 66-56 on Dec. 22, the Stars did not play again until Jan. 8, when they beat Mifflin 94-89 in double overtime. They had been scheduled to play three games in the Murray Bank Laker Classic at Murray (Ky.) Calloway County from Dec. 27-29, but a snowstorm in Kentucky prevented them from making the trip.
Bad weather in central Ohio combined with scheduled days off for the holidays also prevented Centennial from practicing as often as coach Roosevelt Osborne would have preferred during that layoff between games.
Despite the layoff and limited practice time, the Stars won both of their City League-North Division games last week, following up their victory over Mifflin with a 72-55 win over Whetstone on Jan. 11.
"We're still working off some rust after missing so much practice time and not playing for more than two weeks, so I'm pleased that we were able to find a way to win a couple of close games," Osborne said. "We had more turnovers and made more mistakes than I'm comfortable with, but our kids made plays when they needed to."
Against Mifflin, point guard Elias "Boo" Osborne set a program record with 18 assists. He also had 10 points and 11 rebounds to record a triple-double.
Forward Conrad Stephens had 29 points, including 22 in the second half, and 12 rebounds. Also scoring in double figures were guards Joe Thomas (14), Gyai Gyamerah (13) and Christian Cumberlander (11).
The Stars had 34 turnovers against Mifflin.
"We didn't play our greatest this week," Stephens said. "We hadn't played for two weeks and we had way too many turnovers. We practiced some during our break, but it wasn't the same since we knew we didn't have a game to prepare for until this week. Hopefully, we're starting to get back into a flow again."
Centennial and Whetstone were tied at 25 late in the first half before Cumberlander made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Stars a 28-25 halftime advantage. In the second half, the Stars alternated between a trap and a full-court press to force eight turnovers, helping them open a 49-35 lead by the end of the third quarter.
Osborne led the Stars with 18 points, followed by Stephens (13), forward Jamal Slappy (13) and Cumberlander (11).
Through nine games, Osborne was averaging 17.2 points, followed by Cumberlander (13.2), Stephens (11.8), Gyamerah (11) and Slappy (7.8).
"We've got eight guys who I consider starters and five of our guys are averaging double figures or are pretty close to double figures," coach Osborne said. "We have a lot of kids who handle the ball well, so when teams press us, we look to break it and score."
The Stars travel Saturday, Jan. 19, to Ironton for a game that was added to their schedule after missing their trip to Kentucky. Ironton improved to 9-2 with an 84-70 win over Peebles on Jan. 12.
"Ironton's a real good team and I like going into those situations where it's us against the world, like it will be at their place," coach Osborne said. "It was that way when we played at George Washington, and playing tough games on the road like that only make you tougher and better."
Girls basketball team on a roll
The girls basketball team had won seven of its last eight games before playing Beech-croft on Jan. 15.
Centennial, which was 9-4 overall and 7-2 in the City-North before playing Beech-croft, defeated Mifflin 73-38 on Jan. 8 and beat Whetstone 65-38 on Jan. 11.
Against Mifflin, point guard Alyssa Dean had 21 points, forward Aubri Caslin scored 16 and forward Brianne Stephenson scored 13. Stephenson led the way against Whetstone with 17 points, followed by Caslin and forward DeAuja Thompson with 13 apiece and guard Akiya Brown with 11.
"I feel like we're getting better as the season goes along," Dean said. "We don't always start strong, but we've been finishing games strong and playing much better in the second half."
The Stars play host to Columbus East in a league game Tuesday, Jan. 22. They defeated the Tigers 72-36 on Dec. 18, as Thompson had 24 points, Stephenson scored 19 and Caslin scored 13.
"I feel like we can win the rest of our league games if we play at a fast tempo and score in transition and play better defense," Dean said. "Brianne and Aubri are our leaders and they're both playing really well."
Boys bowlers raise record above .500
The boys bowling team defeated Linden-McKinley 1,944-1,552 on Jan. 9 and were 4-3 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division before competing against Whetstone on Jan. 14.
Rashawn Willis led the Stars against Linden with a 315 two-game series, followed by Dashawn Willis (288), Jamyson Neice (263) and Deion Combs (260).