• Centennial sophomore Zach Bolf puts up a shot during the Spartans’ loss to Haltom Thursday at the Northeast Lions Club Tournament. BURLESON STAR/RICKY MOORE

Spartans face tough foes in first tournament

Playing in its first tournament of the season, Centennial’s boys basketball team took vital steps towards getting ready for the start of District 9-5A.
After suffering a loss in its opening round game at the Northeast Lions Club Tournament, Centennial advanced to the consolation championship game on Saturday where it fell to Richland, 60-40.
Richland led 29-23 at halftime, then the Rebels used a 15-4 third-quarter run to put the game away.
Zach Bolf paced Centennial with 15 points and Anthony Hunter finished with 10 points.
“Richland is traditionally pretty tough,” Centennial coach Jeff Carroll said. “We just didn’t respond with the toughness that we needed to. It kind of got a little bit away from us and we have to make sure we keep fighting when things get tough.”
The Spartans opened the tournament with a 71-56 loss to Haltom Thursday. Hunter connected on four three-pointers on the way to a team-high 18 points. Bolf came off the bench to score 12 points.
Haltom led 16-15 after one quarter. In the second quarter, the Buffaloes outscored Centennial, 19-12, to take a 35-27 lead at halftime. The Buffaloes went on a 20-13 run in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Friday, Hunter scored a game-high 29 points as the Spartans defeated Liberty Christian, 72-65. Hunter scored 17 of the Spartans 19 second-quarter points, He hit five three-pointers in the second quarter.
“Anthony shot the ball well,” Carroll said. “Our team being unselfish is going to find the open guy and when a guy gets hot, we are going to feed him the ball. I haven’t seen someone go off like that in a while. It’s a credit to our whole team to get him the ball once he got going.”
Jacob Stuckey finished with 16 points for the Spartans.
Carroll said getting the team better was the ultimate goal of the tournament and that’s what the Spartans did.
“It’s all about growth for our guys,” Carroll said. “I thought our kids grew up and got better. That’s the whole key for this time of year. We just want to be as good as we possible can heading into district.”
The Spartans final preparation for the start of 9-5A play will be at the Spring Creek Holiday Classic hosted by Arlington Grace Prep Academy that opens today. Carroll said the event is another building block for his team.
Centennial faces International Leadership of Texas-Garland at 4 p.m. today. The Spartans will either take on The Oakridge School or Bay Area Christian Friday.
“What I want to see this weekend is continued growth,” Carroll said. “I know we are going to play some really good basketball and I want to see us respond to adversity in the right way.”
Centennial opens district play at home against Crowley Dec. 15

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