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Centennial withstands Coronado’s comeback bid, picks up road win

When Marcus Allen is on his game, Centennial High’s basketball team is tough to beat.

Allen hit shots all over the court Friday, scoring 28 points to help the Bulldogs claim a 78-71 road victory over Coronado.

“Marcus is playing with a lot of confidence, and he’s not taking any bad shots,” Centennial coach Todd Allen said. “He wants to have the ball in his hands, and that confidence carries over to the team.”

The Cougars (0-1) jumped to a 4-0 lead, but Allen nailed two free throws with 6:17 left in the first quarter to ignite a 12-0 Bulldogs’ run.

Coronado tied the game at 19 in the second quarter, but Allen scored eight points in the quarter to help the Bulldogs (2-0) to a 39-30 halftime lead.

“I take it personal when they get easy shots,” said Marcus Allen, who also had six rebounds and two steals. “We have to answer back.”

Centennial began pulling away in the third quarter.

Malcolm Allen nailed a 3-pointer from the right side with 2:35 left to ignite a 13-0 Bulldogs spurt that extended the advantage to 59-41.

Todd Allen credited his defense.

“Our defense is what propels us,” said the coach, whose team also got a boost from a 20-13 rebounding advantage in the second half. “The kids have bought into the idea that good defense leads to offense.”

Though Centennial appeared to have the game in hand heading into the fourth quarter, the Cougars rallied again.

Dominique Muhammad’s steal and subsequent layup midway through the quarter started a 13-4 scoring run, and Coronado closed it to 72-68 on two free throws by Teyshawn Campbell with 49 seconds remaining.

“We’ve got to be able to put them away at that point,” Todd Allen said. “But they hit a lot of 3-pointers that were hard to defend.”

The Bulldogs, who committed 11 turnovers in the second half, regained their composure and controlled the final minute.

“In practice, we work on closing games,” Marcus Allen said. “We work on keeping the lead.”

Malcolm Allen finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and six steals for Centennial. Teammate Evan Martin added 13 points, and Neiman Lee scored 10.

Campbell had 22 points and five rebounds to lead Coronado, which was hurt by foul trouble down the stretch. Teammate Michael Louder added 15 points and eight rebounds.

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