Centennial holds off tough pair in tournament

Centennial’s boys basketball team has played a rugged early schedule, having only one home game out of its first 12.

Bulldogs coach Greg Bohls said the reason is simple: to get his team prepared for Northwest League play.

After edging two quality opponents Saturday, it looks as if Centennial might be ready to compete in one of the area’s toughest leagues.

The Bulldogs beat Desert Pines 79-78, then Sierra Vista 51-49 to reach the semifinals of the Las Vegas Prep Championship at Las Vegas High.

“I feel like our kids have played hard all year,” Bohls said. “We’ve lost down the stretch and learned some things, and now we’ve won a few down the stretch and learned some things. It’s all about preparing for (league).”

Sierra Vista plays Serra (Calif.) in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Las Vegas.

Desert Pines and Sierra Vista had a combined 19-5 record before running into Centennial (6-6) Saturday.

Against Desert Pines, Anil Kundanani made a buzzer-beater to lift the Bulldogs.

In the quarterfinal, Centennial used a hot first half to take control, then held off the Sierra Vista.

The Bulldogs shot 6-for-13 from 3-point range in the first half, taking a 27-19 lead.

Centennial again depended on 3-point attempts early in the second half, but with less success, and some rushed outside shots helped Sierra Vista get back into the game.

“When we have troubles, it’s one pass and a 3-pointer without our big guy touching the ball,” Bohls said. “It’s been a little bit of a problem all year, but when it goes down, you overlook some things.”

A basket by Drew Staker with about nine minutes to go broke a 39-39 tie and put Centennial ahead for good.

Senior forward Matt Holley had only two points in the second half, but his five rebounds and four assists after the break helped the Bulldogs hang on. His pass to Ben Vozzola for a layup with 1:14 remaining made it 49-43.

“Matt has been the center of our team all year,” Bohls said. “He’s the heart of our team. He plays extremely hard, and he’s just really a heady player.”

Vozzola supplied 20 points, and Holley had 10 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Quinten Chow led Sierra Vista with 19 points.

Contact Prep Sports Editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587.

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