Centennial’s boys basketball team has plenty of offensive firepower, as evidenced by its three games of 90 or more points this season.
But a third-quarter defensive surge extended the team’s season Monday.
The Bulldogs held Valley to eight third-quarter points and used a 15-0 run to take control on the way to an 82-69 win over the Vikings in the Division I state play-in game at Del Sol.
“I got onto them at halftime, because we weren’t playing like we should,” Centennial coach Todd Allen said. “And Valley was hitting everything. I told them we’ve got to come out and establish our man defense and just keep fighting. I said, ‘You don’t want this to be your last half.’ ”
Thanks to that defensive surge, it wasn’t. The Bulldogs (22-9) play Canyon Springs (18-10) in the state semifinals at 8 p.m. Thursday at Orleans Arena.
Valley led by as many as 10 after a three-point play by Cameron Burton with 4:37 to go in the first half made it 34-24. But Centennial closed to within 42-38 at the half, then used a 15-0 run in the third quarter to take a 60-48 lead.
Centennial forced seven Valley turnovers and turned them into nine points in the third quarter.
“It was big, and they missed some shots, too,” Allen said. “We just told them to hang in there and get on every loose ball, keep playing with your feet and go back to our man principles since the beginning of the year. And they pulled it out.”
After making 17 of 29 shots (58.6 percent) in the first half, Valley was just 4 of 17 (23.5 percent) in the third quarter.
And Stanford-bound senior Marcus Allen was right there to take advantage for Centennial. Allen scored 11 of his game-high 34 points in the third quarter to lead the charge. He was 5-for-5 from the field in the third quarter.
“That’s senior leadership right there from Marcus,” Todd Allen, no relation, said. “They’ve been doing it all year long for us. They just refuse to lose. Man, oh man. I can’t believe this. I just can’t believe it.”
Malcolm Allen had 25 points, six rebounds and four assists for Centennial. Marcus Allen added seven rebounds and six assists.
Spencer Mathis led Valley with 18 points. Burton and Shea Garland each scored 14 for the Vikings (21-10).
“We’ve been down 11 before, and they just fight back and fight back,” Todd Allen said. “There’s no quit in them. That’s the sign of a championship team.”