Preps

Thursday, Jan 02 2014 10:29 PM

Centennial tops Mission Oak with hot 4th quarter

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial's Derek Check looks for an open player during action Thursday in the Holiday Hoops Challenge at Garces High.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial's Brandon Robinson sets up a play during action Thursday against Mira Monte.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial's Aleczander Check is all air while shooting during Thursday's game againt Mira Monte in the Holiday Hoops Challenge.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial's Matt Clendenon guards Mira Monte's Braxton Huggins Thursday during their game in the Holiday Hoops Challenge at Garces High.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial head coach Hernan Santiago seems happy with the action of his players during Thursday's game against Mira Monte.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial's Preston Green drives toward the basket while Mira Monte's Gustavo Salgado guards Thursday in the Holiday Hoops Challenge.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Mira Monte's Braxton Huggins (left) and Centennial's Aleczander Check (right) work for a rebound Thursday in the Holiday Hoops Challenge at Garces High.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial's Aleczander Check looks for an opening during Thursday's game against Mira Monte High in the Holiday Hoops Challenge.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Mira Monte guard Braxton Huggins battles Centennial guard Scott Barksdale for a rebound Thursday at Garces High.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial guard Matt Clendenon brings the ball up court on a fast break Thrusday against Mira Monte in the Holiday Hoops Challenge.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial guard Derek Check sets up a play during action Thursday against Mira Monte in the Holiday Hoops Challenge.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial's Derek Check reaches in for the ball while Mira Monte's Andres Abundis tries to maintain control Thrusday in the Holiday Hoops Challenge at Garces.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial guard Aleczander Check brings the ball up court while the Mira Monte bench looks on Thrusday at Garces High.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial's Malcolm Johnson shoots over Mira Monte's Braxton Huggins Thursday in the Holiday Hoops Challenge at Garces High.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial's Aleczander Check splits Mira Monte defenders Gustavo Salgado (left) and Taj Diliza (right) during action Thursday in the Holiday Hoops Challenge.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial guard Aleczander Check dribbles to the front court while Mira Monte forward Gustavo Salgado sets up to defend Thrusday at Garces High.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centenntail guard Scott Barksdale shoots over Mira Monte forward Marcelo Martinez Thursday in the Holiday Hoops Challenge at Garces High.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Mira Monte guard Braxton Huggins works to be by Centennial guard Aleczander Check during Thursday's game in the Holiday Hoops Challenge at Garces.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial forward Brandon Robinson takes it to the basket Thrusday against Mira Monte.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial head coach Hernan Santiago barks out a play during Thursday's game against Mira Monte in the Holiday Hoops Challenge at Garces.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial forward Brandon Johnson dribbles up court during Thursday's game against Mira Monte at Garces High.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial forward Malcolm Johnson is fouled by Mira Monte's Braxton Huggins during Thursday's game in the Holiday Hoops Challenge.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Mira Monte's Taj Diliza goes to the basket while Centennial's Joel Melton (right) defends during action Thursday in the Holiday Hoops Challenge at Garces High.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Mira Monte guard Taj Diliza drives to the basket during Thursday's game against Centennial High.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial's Malcolm Johnson (right) and Mira Monte's Marcelo Martinez (left) work for a rebound dsuring Thursday's game at Garces High.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial High head coach Hernan Santiago gives instructions to his players during Thursday's game against Mira Monte.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial forward Malcolm Johnson goes to the basket during action against Mira Monte Thursday at Garces High.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Mira Monte guard Taj Diliza seems very flexible while dribbling to the basket during their game against Centennial High Thursday.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Centennial's Aleczander Check (left) and Mira Monte's Taj Diliza (right) battle for a loose ball during Thursday's game in the Holiday Hoops Challenge at Garces High.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Mira Monte guard Taj Diliza dribbles around Centennial guard Aleczander Check during Thursday's game in the Garces Holiday Hoops Classic at Garces High.

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BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian

Down by 11 points, the Centennial boys basketball team had little margin of error to work with during the final six minutes and 10 seconds of its Garces Holiday Hoops Challenge quarterfinal game against Tulare-Mission Oak.

Thankfully, for the Golden Hawks, they were near-perfect down the stretch and pulled out a 79-75 victory over the Hawks on Thursday night at Garces High.

Brandon Robinson had 29 points, including a clutch 3-pointer with 40 seconds left, to lift Centennial to the dramatic win, its second of the day.

The Golden Hawks were 11-of-11 on two-point field goal attempts and didn't commit a turnover during the fourth quarter against Mission Oak.

"Isn't that beautiful?" Centennial coach Hernan Santiago said. "...We were settling for a lot of 3s earlier and then Brandon put us on his back and said we're going to attack the basket like we've been asked and then we got fortunate layups."

The Hawks, playing without their top players Blake Shannon (32 points and 8 assists per-game averages) and Austin Molezzo (16 ppg., 9 rpg.) due to injuries, outscored Centennial by 10 points in the third quarter and led 58-51 entering the fourth.

But after Bobby Alvarado's fourth 3-pointer gave the Hawks a 66-55 lead with 6:22 left, things started to go the Golden Hawks' way.

Preston Green sank a runner in the lane with 6:10 remaining to kick off a 14-3 Centennial run that tied the game.

Mission Oak quickly pulled ahead again 73-70, only to fall short when after Malcolm Johnson made it a 1-point game with a strong move to the basket, Centennial senior guard Derek Check penetrated into the key before finding Robinson wide open on the wing just behind the 3-point line.

The 5-foot-11 sophomore, who had 12 fourth-quarter points, swished the shot, giving Centennial the lead for good with 40 seconds to go.

"It was a big shot," Robinson said. "I was so hyped. For Derek to pass me the ball and have confidence in me, it's a great feeling. An All-Area player giving me the chance to show my talents, it's just big."

The Golden Hawks will face Bakersfield tonight in the semifinals. The Drillers recovered from a slow start to win 72-51 Thursday over Lemoore.

Centennial reached the quarterfinals by beating Mira Monte 88-78 on Thursday morning. Five players scored in double figures for Centennial, off-setting a 36-point effort by the Lions' Braxton Huggins.

Johnson, Centennial's top big-man finished with 17 points and dominated the boards against Mission Oak.

Check, like Johnson and Robinson a transfer from Independence, had 11 points and several assists.

"I'm one of the only seniors on the team so I have to step it up and lead a lot of times," Check said. "My team has done a great job of stepping it up with me and just playing hard."

Alvarado, who scored 27 points in the Hawks' first-round victory over West on Monday, tallied a game-high 33 points against Centennial.

Will Shannon was Misson Oak's second-leading scorer with 18 points.

"We played the best basketball we possibly could tonight," Mission Oak coach Myron Epps said. "Toward the end of the game we didn't execute. Didn't guard like we should have. Those things will hurt. And they did a good job of picking up the pressure. And when you're missing a couple of guards, that can be the key changing the basketball game around."

Centennial struggled with its shooting from the floor and at the free throw line through the first three quarters.

Even with their red-hot fourth quarter, the Golden Hawks were out-shot 46.7-percent to 50-percent from the field by Mission Oak.

Centennial won the turnover battle, 18-10, and the Golden Hawks took 25 more field goal attempts (75-50).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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