Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Slowdown can’t keep Knights from win

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bill ryan⁄the gazette
Century’s Josh Bordner puts extreme defensive pressure on South Carroll’s Tom Cullop.
As the third quarter of Tuesday night’s game against South Carroll neared its expiration, Century guard Nate Jordan hit a streaking Clay Collins with a full court pass for an uncontested layup and a 10-point lead.

Earlier in the quarter Collins, Jordan and Luke Wright came off the bench to provide the spark which permitted Century to play their style of basketball and cruise in the second half to a 54-36 victory. With the win, Century improves to 13-4 and tops both the Monocacy Valley Athletic League’s Blue Ridge Conference (4-1) and Carroll County (7-1) standings.

‘‘I thought South Carroll did a nice job of slowing us down in the first half,” Knights head coach George Wunder said. ‘‘I thought our kids did nice job defensively. Our bench, Luke Wright, Nate Jordan and Clay Collins did a great job coming off the bench in the third quarter and got us up to 10 points. Then we were able to go back and play the basketball that we play.”

South Carroll commanded the tempo for the majority of the first half. On nearly every possession Cavaliers’ forward Tom Cullop would stand nearly motionless, holding the ball between half court and the 3-point line inviting Century’s junior 6-foot-8 center Matt Duerr to come out to defend him. Recovering from a 9-2 deficit, South Carroll led 15-12 after the first quarter, then saw the Knights take the lead at the half, 25-22.

In the locker room Wunder emphasized a couple of points were all they needed to regain control. Ryan McTavish put the Cavs up by one with a 3-pointer midway through the third.

From there though it was all Knights. Century went on a 10-0 run to end the quarter and, for all intents and purposes, South Carroll’s prospects of winning.

‘‘I give a lot of credit to our bench,” Duerr said. ‘‘We were playing their game at the time but our bench was able to do it and step it up for us. Then in the fourth quarter we played our game and got up another 10 points.”

Duerr led all scorers with 13. Chris Leggett added 10 points while Pat Bodnar had nine. South Carroll’s high man was Jordan Phillips with six. Cullop, McTavish and Garrett Jones added five each.

Tuesday’s game was a clear illustration of Century’s impressive depth. All 11 players saw action, nine of which logged significant minutes. Seven of them reached the scoring column.

‘‘It’s been the most important thing all year,” Wunder said. ‘‘We play nine on a regular basis. I think it is crucial for our success. Tonight the difference was those three kids coming off the bench and making that run for us.”

The Cavs fell apart when forced out of their game plan. South Carroll managed a meager 14 points in the second half. At 4-13 overall, 1-4 in the Blue Ridge and 1-8 in county play, the rebuilding continues in Winfield.

‘‘We’ve put together a lot of good quarters, but have had a hard time putting all four together,” South Carroll head coach Doug Goff said.

‘‘We don’t have a lot of experience. I have three seniors but only one who actually played the whole year. We have to learn from these games and gather the experience before the playoffs.”