The final stat sheet showed Centennial’s Troy Brown Jr. finished with a double-double Wednesday.
But that wasn’t even the biggest contribution the McDonald’s All-American made for the Bulldogs.
Brown had 34 points and 15 rebounds and helped hold Faith Lutheran’s leading scorer, Nic Maccioni, in check, as the host Bulldogs notched a 75-61 victory to remain in first place in the Northwest League.
“Troy is such a long, quick defender,” Centennial coach Noah Hartsock said. “His strength really affects some guys. I think he did a good job in the first half kind of locking him down. Nic got on fire at the end of the first half, but Troy did a good job on him overall.”
Maccioni, who came in averaging 22.2 points per game, finished with 14 points but shot 4-for-16 from the floor and had only one field goal in the second half.
No. 3 Centennial (17-4, 8-0 Northwest) led only 39-35 after the Crusaders’ Josh Hong made a 3-pointer with 2:39 left in the third quarter. But the Bulldogs closed the quarter on a 10-2 spurt capped by Ishon Hardin’s 3-pointer at the buzzer to go up 49-37.
Brown’s three-point play put the Bulldogs ahead 59-48, and he found Isaiah Banks for an easy runout that gave Centennial a 61-48 lead with 2:30 remaining. The Bulldogs then went 8-for-9 from the free-throw line in the final 1:44.
Centennial finished with more free throws made (21) than the seventh-ranked Crusaders attempted (14).
Banks had 10 points, and Alijah Henderson also scored 10 for the Bulldogs.
“They came out in that box-and-one (in the second half) and kind of stifled our guys,” Hartsock said. “We kind of settled for longer jump shots instead of getting into our offense. But the guys did a good job toward the end of the third quarter, fourth quarter of really attacking it, finding the open guy and really making smart decisions.”
Jaylen Fox led Faith Lutheran (12-8, 5-2) with 16 points, and Hong scored 11. Elijah Kothe and Brevin Walter each added 10 for the Crusaders, who trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half.
Contact reporter David Schoen at email@example.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.