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Depleted Centennial Eagles lose to a physical Reynolds Raider's defense during the opener of the Mt. Hood Conference schedule.

PMG PHOTO: ANGEL ROSAS  - Centennial lose first divisional game at home to Reynolds. Reynolds' defense proved too much for Centennial to handle Wednesday, Jan. 5, as the Raiders claimed a 63-53 victory over the Eagles during the Mt. Hood Conference boys basketball league opener.

The game started off in a slow pace for both teams, as each taking their time to find a groove. Scoring went back and forth with Reynolds taking a slight advantage early on, but neither team out playing the other.

At the end of the first quarter the Raiders were up 17-12. With the score pretty tight entering the second quarter the ball game was really open to either team. The Reynolds boys had a more physical presence on the court, but the Eagles were far from out of it.

As the quarter progressed Reynolds slowly started sneaking away with the lead as they consistently were draining shots inside the paint. The Raider's defense had an unrelenting hold on Centennial, creating pressure that the Eagles never seemed to overcome.

On the flip side, the Eagles had a difficult time communicating and often seemed confused and out-of-sink. What compounded the home team's troubles was that nothing they were shooting was dropping.

The Raiders were not putting on an overly dominant performance, but Reynold's far more consistent play and pressure on defense put the Eagles down 22-40 at the half.

Reynolds would maintain the lead and the momentum for the majority of the rest of the game. In the last few minutes the Eagles went all out, putting intense pressure on the Raiders and doing everything they could to put points on the board.

Centennial junior Parker Poetsch was the Eagles top scorer with 27, and he also some impressive defensive steals. Even with his efforts the Eagles couldn't dig themselves out of the hole.

"You know I think we just got swallowed up by their defense, we couldn't really go against," Parker said.

Centennial Head Coach John Poetsch said there were a lot of reasons for the game's outcome. "We just got outplayed," said John, "They hurt us, but we hurt ourselves, turning the ball over."

The coach also mentioned missing key players from the starting lineup.

"We are a little depleted right now with two starters out," Poetsch said. "We basically have 23 points out of our lineup."

Centennial's goal now is to get healthy as it sets its sights on a trip to Sandy High School on Friday, Jan. 7.

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