Northwest proves too much for Spartans
ARLINGTON — There’s a reason why Avery Anderson is headed to Oklahoma State next season.
The 6-2 senior point guard from Justin Northwest is lightning quick and hard to guard.
Centennial defenders found that out time and again Friday in the Spartans Class 5A Region II area-round playoff game with the Texans, who are seeking their third consecutive trip to the state tournament.
“One of their greatest advantages is their experience,” Centennial coach Trovocie Jackson said. “It’s not an accident that that group of guys has continued to get better over the last three years.”
Anderson scored a game-high 28 points to help Northwest to an 85-63 win at Arlington Martin.
“Anderson’s speed is something that we haven’t seen,” Jackson said. “We haven’t seen a guard that fast from end-to-end.”
The loss halted the best season in Centennial program history at 24-10. The Spartans are still seeking their first area-round playoff win. They are 0-3 in the second-round of the playoffs.
Anderson had some help Friday night as three other Texan starters eclipsed double-figure scoring. Junior Julien Smith finished with 20 points and 6-10 senior center Sammie Freeman, a Virginia Tech signee, scored 19 points. Senior guard Kevin Cash scored 14 points.
“Freeman was able to throw his weight around a bit,” Jackson said. “We did get him to miss but it takes so much energy trying get him off the block and contest that shot and then have to re-gather and regain that energy makes it really tough.”
The Spartans lad 21-16 after one quarter thanks to nine points from junior guard Zach Bolf and six points from senior guard Anthony Hunter. Bolf finished with team-high 20 points and Hunter scored 19 in the last game of his career at Centennial.
With just less than four minutes to play in the second quarter, junior post Jacob Stuckey hit a shot in the lane that got the Spartans to within 28-26.
“Right at the end of the half our last three possessions were turnovers,” Jackson said. “Those things killed us. You can’t turn the ball over against a good team and expect to be successful. My kids were resilliant and tried to fight through it. It was just a poor game plan by me.”
From that point, the Texans took over the game. In its last eight possession before halftime, Centennial managed five points while the Texans scored 11 points to build a 39-31 lead at halftime.
In the first four minutes of the second half, Northwest went on a 14-4 run that put the game away. Freeman, who scored six points during the run, hit a shot off the glass that gave the Texans a 53-35 lead. Smith added a pair of three-pointers to help the Texans pull away.
The game was the last one for Centennial’s six seniors including Hunter, K.J. Walker, Tanner Harbin, Nate Adcox (three points), Zane Elliot and Caleb Werner (four points).
“I will never speak badly about what this group of men were able to accomplish,” Jackson said. “Those seniors put up with a lot in terms of my demands. This group carried me for a ride. I didn’t do anything for them. They did everything for me and made me look like I knew what I was doing.”
Justin Northwest 85, Centennial 63
Centennial 20 11 14 18 - 63
Northwest 17 20 26 20 - 85
Centennial (24-10):Zach Bolf 20, Anthony Hunter 19, Tayton Conerway 9, Jacob Stuckey 8, Caleb Werner 4, Nate Adcox 3.
Northwest (28-7): Avery Anderson 28, Julien Smith 20, Sammie Freeman 19, Kevin Cash 14, Kabeya Tshibangu 2, Wallace Onditi 2.