Veterans key Bulldogs in tournament opener

With one senior and two juniors, Centennial's girls basketball roster doesn't have a wealth of on-court experience.

The Bulldogs' expectations remain as lofty as ever, a year after winning the Class 4A state championship.

Centennial showed flashes of brilliance during an 83-46 victory over Tech in the opening game of the Bulldogs' Las Vegas Holiday Classic on Monday.

Centennial's veteran players dominated. Senior Alexis Byrd compiled 36 points and 12 rebounds, junior Courtney Hayes had 19 points, 12 steals and nine rebounds, and junior Ashley Klemz scored 12 points.

Now coach Karen Weitz is watching for signs that Centennial's younger players are ready to emerge.

"We have some young kids," she said. "We have some players who were role players last year. They can't be role players any more. They want to still be role players, but we need them to step up."

Along the way, there will be harsh lessons, such as losing three of four games last week in the Tournament of Champions in Phoenix.

"They need to play hard and intense every single day," Weitz said. "It doesn't matter if we're in Vegas or Arizona, we have to continue to grow and get better.

"You have to get them to want to learn and understand the game. All of them want to play the game, but it's getting harder to find kids who want to learn and understand the game of basketball."

Centennial was not threatened by Tech after bolting to a 25-10 first-quarter lead. The Bulldogs forced 36 turnovers, but missed more than a handful of layups and committed 15 turnovers.

Mesha Phillips led Tech with 21 points. Aubrey Donald grabbed 17 rebounds.

Contact reporter Bartt Davis at or 702-387-5230.


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