• Centennial junior guard K.J. Walker goes to the basket during the Spartans’ 67-43 win over Fort Worth South Hills Nov. 21 at Centennial. BURLESON STAR/RICKY MOORE

Tournaments will test Spartans mettle, depth

Practices will be broken up by tournament play for Centennial boys basketball team over the next few weeks as the Spartans get ready for the start of District 9-5A play.

“To be honest at this point and time it’s all about getting better,” Centennial coach Jeff Carroll said. “Right now I’m more interested in getting our younger players game experience. The kids are playing hard, they are putting in a lot of effort and I think that is going to show when we get to district.”

Centennial will open 9-5A competition Dec. 15 hosting Crowley. The Spartans play Dec. 19 at Cleburne before heading into the Christmas off period.

Before that, the Spartans will play this weekend at the Northeast Lions Club Tournament at Thomas Coliseum in Haltom City, and the inaugural Arlington Grace Prep Tournament Dec. 7-9.

Centennial opens play tonight against Haltom at 7:30 p.m. Depending on the outcome of the game, the Spartans will play either Birdville or Argyle Liberty Christian on Friday.

The Spartans (4-1) enter the tournament on a four-game winning streak thanks to a road wins at Fort Worth Polytechnic and Aledo and consecutive home victories over Fort Worth Paschal and Fort Worth South Hills.

Heading into the Thanksgiving break, the Spartans won three games in a span of five days.

Behind 18 points from Anthony Hunter and 16 points from Corbin Franco, Centennial won at Aledo, 59-45, Nov. 17.

Franco hit four three-pointers in the win in a game where just five Spartans scored points. Zach Bolf and Zane Elliott each scored eight points.

“We have so many people who can score,” Carroll said. “That is going to be reflected each night, depending on who we play and what the matchups are that night. That’s one of the great things about this group is they all have an understanding that it can be any guy, any night. They have to be ready but also have to be unselfish.”

Centennial trailed 16-13 after one quarter, then the Spartans went on a 15-5 run to take a 28-21 halftime lead. In the second half, Centennial outscored Aledo, 31-24.

The Spartans held on for a 71-67 win Nov. 20 over Paschal as the Panthers used a 21-15 fourth-quarter run to make things interesting.

Hunter scored eight of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter to help the Spartans maintain the lead. K.J. Walker tallied 14 points, Jacob Stuckey added 12 points, Bolf finished with 11 points and London Savala scored nine points.

On the next day, Centennial stopped South Hills, 67-43, behind 20 points from Hunter. Bolf scored 13 points and Franco added 10 points.

“Zach, as a sophomore, is one of our best all-round players. He can rebound, he can score and is one of our best defenders,” Carroll said. “He is going to be a really good player for us not only this season but in the future.”

The Spartans outscored the Scorpions in each quarter, including limiting them to single-digit scoring in the first two quarters. Centennial led 16-9 after one quarter and 33-18 at halftime.

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