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DIVISION I GIRLS: Centennial uses impressive second half to top Manogue

Karina Brandon grabbed 10 offensive rebounds in the first half of Thursday’s Division I state semifinals.

Her Centennial teammates made sure the team’s lone senior didn’t have to work quite as hard in the second half.

Brandon finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds, and the Bulldogs overcame shaky shooting early to pull away from Bishop Manogue, 78-49 in a state semifinal at Orleans Arena. Centennial (30-2) will face arch-rival Bishop Gorman (24-5) for the title at 6:10 p.m. Friday.

“It was hard, but it’s a fight. You have to fight for it,” said Brandon, a 5-foot, 9-inch post. “I was just trying to spin off and go to the basket. We want it. We have the drive, and we are giving the effort.”

Centennial made just 13 of 41 shots from the field in the first half, but grabbed 15 offensive rebounds on its way to a 29-24 halftime lead.

“When you get in games like this, I don’t expect everything to start falling right off the bat,” Centennial coach Karen Weitz said. “You have to weather that storm a little bit. We just had to make sure the stuff that we do outside of scoring buckets was still there.”

The Bulldogs came out on fire in the second half, making 9 of 13 shots from the field and forcing nine turnovers by the Miners (23-6) in the third quarter.

Centennial started the half on a 27-4 run and stretched the lead to 63-32 early in the fourth quarter.

“We talk about the first and third quarters and coming out and hopefully setting a tone,” Weitz said. “We like to just keep coming at you.”

When the Bulldogs weren’t burying shots in the second half, they were heading to the free-throw line. Centennial was 20 of 27 from the line in the second half.

Jayden Eggleston scored 16 of her game-high 23 points in the second half and grabbed 10 rebounds. Pam Wilmore scored all 12 of her points in the second half for Centennial, which scrambled to get to the game after the team’s bus broke down shortly after leaving the school.

The team hoped to arrive at the game at or around the start of the 4:40 p.m. boys semifinal. Instead, Centennial arrived in the third quarter of that game.

“It concerned me,” Weitz said. “But our coaches kept them thinking about the game. They’re young, and that probably helped. We just got them into the locker room and got them focused on the game.

“Maybe that should be our new set up,” Weitz joked.

Brianna Holt led the Miners with 17 points.

Contact reporter Bartt Davis at bdavis@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5230.

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