• Centennial’s Anthony Walker, shown in action earlier this season, scored 24 points in the Spartans’ 73-69 playoff-clinching win over Everman Tuesday. BURLESON STAR/RICKY MOORE

Spartans wrap up playoff berth with win

Needing a win to wrap up a playoff berth, Centennial boys basketball team did just that, defeating Everman, 73-69, on the road in both team’s District 9-5A finale.

The win moved the Spartans (16-13, 8-6) into a three-way tie for second place with Crowley and Cleburne. Centennial is slated to open the playoffs at 6 p.m. Tuesday against Waxahachie at Mansfield Lake Ridge High School.

“When you think about this team only returning one starter it’s a pretty big accomplishment to finish tied for second place,” Centennial coach Jeff Carroll said. “They battled all-year long to get to where they are. This is our fifth consecutive playoff appearance in seven years. I’m pretty proud of how well they did.”

The Spartans survived a wild comeback by Everman to win the game.

The Bulldogs scored 26 points, in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough as Centennial hit 11 of 13 free throws in the final quarter. For the game, the Spartans made 23 of 30 frees throws.

“Our kids have been shooting from the free throw line all season long,” Carroll said.

Anthony Hunter, who scored a game-high 24 points, made eight of nine free throws in the fourth quarter. Jacob Stuckey scored 14 points and Zach Bolf finished with 11 points.

Everman’s Austin Dixon scored 24 points and J.T. Clark tallied 22 points. In the fourth quarter, Clark scored 14 points and Dixon added 11 points.

Friday night, Centennial scored 27 fourth-quarter points to defeat Joshua, 66-59, at home on senior night.

The program honored seniors Kelton Tezeno, London Savala and Josh Brown.

“Year after year we have had seniors that were great leaders and contributed a lot of our program in many different ways,” Carroll said. “This senior class has been no exception. Having some younger kids play, a lot our seniors have stepped up and done the things we needed them to do to ensure that we were successful.”

Friday night, Hunter led the charge, scoring 12 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter. The Spartans made eight of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter.

Centennial outscored Joshua, 27-16, in the final quarter to win. The Owls led 43-39 heading into the fourth quarter.

“It was a concentrated effort on the defensive end that started the rally,” Carroll said. “Once we did that we fought back took control of the game.”

Stuckey and K.J. Walker each scored 10 points for Centennial.

Michael Ayars led Joshua with 26 points and Will Boyd added 14 points.

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