Centennial boys basketball coach Todd Allen wasn’t pleased with his team’s effort when the Bulldogs played Shadow Ridge on Dec. 17.
He was more than happy with the way his squad played Friday.
Centennial opened with a 21-6 run and rolled to a 79-57 win over the Mustangs in the semifinals of the White Division of the Foothill Holiday Classic.
“We played them a few weeks ago, and we came out really sluggish,” Allen said. “We talked about coming out with good energy today and playing good defense.”
The Bulldogs controlled the glass, outrebounding Shadow Ridge 22-14 in the first half and 42-25 in the game.
“We’ve been playing good defense and rebounding, and that’s been our mainstay, and they did a real good job of that,” Allen said. “We kind of got up on them early, and that helped us out.”
Centennial didn’t press much but showed an effective 2-2-1 look in the first half. The Bulldogs forced eight first-half turnovers, turning them into eight points.
Allen said the team was looking to work on the press to prepare for league play.
“Fortunately it worked out for us today where we were able to get some turnovers and some momentum,” Allen said. “We’re so long, if we can use our length better, we might be able to create some turnovers. Today, it worked out for us.”
Troy Brown, a 6-foot-5-inch freshman guard, keyed the attack, using his length to get into the passing lanes and notch four steals. Brown finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots despite spending the final 10 minutes on the bench after Allen turned to his reserves.
“Troy’s been doing a lot of stuff for us,” Allen said. “I’m really impressed with his rebounding. That’s probably like his fifth or sixth double-double of the season for a freshman, (which is) kind of unheard of. He’s finding the ball, which we need him to do, and I think it’s rubbing off on everybody else.”
Khalil Thompson had 15 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals for Centennial, which plays Valhalla (Calif.) in the White final at 5 p.m. today at Foothill.
“It’s all good,” Allen said of advancing to the division championship. “Basketball is basketball. We just want to keep playing and get these kids some minutes so we can get ready for when it counts.”
Garrett Scheer had 10 points, four rebounds and four assists for the Bulldogs.
Serph Decker had 17 points to lead Shadow Ridge. Cameron Berube scored 13 and Preston Echols 12 for the Mustangs.
Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at email@example.com or 702-380-4587. Follow @DamonSeiters on Twitter.