Centennial with 4th quarter takeover
The 3A Maryland State High School championship match-up between Westlake and Centennial was a good game that was not decided until the 4th quarter.Centennial made their second appearance since 2010 and this time they were supported very well with a crowd that covered an entire side. The Eagles crowd brought an intense, high volume, and exciting vibe that made the team feel like it was a home game.
In the first quarter Centennial had a sort of slow start, scoring just 9 points but they defended well holding Westlake to the same amount. However, in the second quarter the Eagles hit a switch and turned it up after facing a 7-2 run by the Wolverines. Centennial super sophomore, Elijah White, sparked his team coming off the bench when he sized up the rim on a fast break and decided he was going to become acquainted with the rim, finishing with a one-hand slam.
Following that his teammate/brother, Isaiah White, responded as well with a fastbreak lay-up for an And-1 to tie the game at 16, and then another bucket coming in transition for a lay-up in traffic. The momentum from Elijah and Isaiah became contagious because scoring point guard, Chad Strothers, followed with a smooth jump hook shot that resulted in an And-1 to give the Eagles a 10-0 run, and 19-16 lead. Later in the quarter, Isaiah White answered again with a trey ball right before the halftime buzzer.
In the second half, the White Brothers and Chad Strothers carried their team/school to the first State Championship since 1981.
The White brothers accounted for 10 of the team's 17 third quarter points, both knocking down trey balls, as well as assisting other teammates. In the fourth the Eagles pulled away thanks to Chad Strothers takeover, as he turned his defense into offense by stealing two passes and converting them into two lay-ups. Strothers would put the game away with a sick crossover finishing in the lane for an And-1.
Strothers finished with 12 points (9 points in the 4th) and 6 boards. Isaiah White finished with 18 points and 5 blocks, and his brother Elijah White, finished with 10 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals, including a cherry on top dunk late in the 4th which the Eagles won 57-43.
Westlake found themselves on the losing end for the second year in a row. The Wolverines fought a tough battle, taking a second quarter lead due to their defense, forcing the Eagles to consecutive turnovers which created a 16-11 lead for Westlake. They would only lead the game once more, before the game got out of hand for them. Westlake in the fourth could not break the press of Centennial which created a whole hat they could not dig out of. Wolverines Dominic Espeleta led his team with 14 points but unfortunately was not enough.