Reno’s size no obstacle for Daniels, Centennial

Deanna Daniels is getting accustomed to playing against 6-foot-4-inch centers.

For the second straight game in the girls basketball postseason, the Centennial senior went up against a monster in the paint.

And for the second straight time, the 5-10 Daniels came out on top.

Daniels had 15 points and 19 rebounds Thursday to help the Bulldogs claw out a 70-60 victory over Reno in the Class 4A state semifinals at the Orleans Arena.

Centennial (31-2), a winner of 17 straight, will face Bishop Gorman (29-4) in the state final at 6 p.m. today.

“That’s Deanna,” Centennial coach Karen Weitz said. “She has a nose for the ball. She just gets in there and gets the ball.”

It sounds easy, but against 6-4 Abby Boorman and 6-2 Elizabeth Messick, Daniels should have had her hands full.

“I don’t care that they’re taller than me,” said Daniels, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds while going up against 6-4 Gorman senior Dannielle Diamant in Centennial’s Sunset Region final win. “I know that if I put my mind to it and I give 100 percent effort that I’m going to get every rebound.”

Daniels had eight offensive rebounds on a night when her team badly needed them. Centennial shot 21 of 63 from the field (33.3 percent) and committed 14 turnovers.

The Bulldogs appeared to have the game in hand, leading 31-14 with less than three minutes left in the second quarter, but struggled when Reno switched to a full-court press.

Ten of Centennial’s turnovers came after Reno (22-6) switched to the press.

“You have to be able to handle changes,” Weitz said. “Good teams have to be able to adjust. There might be a possession or two that is bad, but there shouldn’t be as many as there were.

“What got us here is playing together. We can’t play as a bunch of individuals.”

Reno crept within 57-51 with 4:15 to play and 62-57 with 1:21 left, but its poor free-throw shooting and clutch shots by Centennial’s Shannon Brown doomed the Huskies.

Reno went 12 of 26 from the line.

Brown, a freshman, scored 10 points off the bench, including a wild hook shot with 3:51 to play that ended an 8-0 Reno run.

” ‘Shannon the cannon’ is what we call her,” Daniels said. “She just makes key shots.”

Johnna Brown had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Courtney Hayes 10 points for the Bulldogs.

Sarah Finley had 14 points, Stephanie Rovetti 13 and Boorman 10 for Reno.

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