Century boys fall to Centennial 49-46
After a tough start to the season that had seen the Century boys drop all but three of their first eight games, the hometown Jags dropped three more in last week's Century/Hillsboro Holiday Tournament, the last of which to the Centennial Eagles Dec. 29. who entered the tournament winless in their 2017-18 campaign.
The visiting Eagles (2-8) survived a late-third-quarter Century run, then shut the home Jaguars down in the fourth to edge the Hillsboro team 49-46.
Centennial was led by the grit and determination of senior forwards TJ Tyler and David Kunda, who combined for 32 of the Eagles' 49 points, including essentially all of the key buckets down the stretch of a closely-fought game.
Century (3-8) failed to capitalize on an outstanding performance by 6-foot-5 junior Daniel Berger, who tallied 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Senior post Josh Walkenhorst added 10 points and hauled-in 12 boards in the defeat.
The game was a see-saw battle from the get-go. After a first quarter that ended with the two combatants tied 13-13 and the Eagles taking a three-point edge to the half, Century opened up a seven-point lead midway through the third quarter — primarily on the back of Berger, who scored nine points in the period, doing damage both inside and from beyond the arc. But Centennial pulled within five at the end of the third, and when Tyler scored the first four to start the fourth, it was a 41-40 game and anyone's to take down the stretch.
The two teams traded blows over the next couple minutes, with the Jaguars getting a bucket and a free throw from Berger and Walkenhorst, while the Eagles got the same from the one-two punch of Tyler and Kunda. But when Tyler scored on a tough shot in the lane with 3:00 left on the clock, Centennial had its first lead since the opening seconds of the third quarter, boosting it shortly thereafter on a Kunda floater, forcing a Century timeout trailing 47-44 with just 1:48 remaining.
After another Jaguar miss after the timeout, Kunda gave the Eagles a five-point lead and the game looked to be over. But Berger hit a tough baseline jumper to pull the Jags within 49-46 with 17 seconds left on the clock, and when Centennial missed the front end of a one-and-one there was once again hope of a Century comeback.
However, Berger missed a contested three, then following another Eagles free throw miss, Century's Brayden Johnson's last-second heave missed the mark and the game was in the books.
The loss capped the three days of competition in which Century fell to the Eagles, undefeated Madison 70-60 and crosstown rival Hilhi 45-37.
The Jags were next scheduled to travel to Glencoe Jan. 3, ahead of a week-long break before hosting Sunset Jan. 10.