At 6 feet 5 inches, Evan Martin is Centennial’s tallest boys basketball player.
The junior used his size to key a third-quarter spurt for the Bulldogs on Tuesday.
Martin had 11 points and eight rebounds in the third quarter to help Centennial (2-0) to a 69-49 home victory over Chaparral (4-4).
“His energy is going for rebounds,” Centennial coach Todd Allen said. “He’s growing up before our eyes, which is great. He’s attacking the basket like we hoped he would do.”
Centennial led 26-22 at the half, and Martin immediately sparked the Bulldogs to extend the lead after the break. He started the half with a transition dunk on a pass from Marcus Allen and added two free throws moments later to push the lead to eight.
After Chaparral had cut the lead to 30-26, Martin hit another shot with 5:01 to go in the third quarter, and the Cowboys wouldn’t get closer than five the rest of the way.
“In the second half I told the kids the first four minutes were going to be crucial, and I think the kids bought into the defensive style that we wanted to play, trapping and getting those turnovers,” Todd Allen said.
Martin finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots. Just as importantly, he helped hold Chaparral’s 6-8 senior Zach Kirschbaum to one point. Kirschbaum had 24 points in a 61-45 win over Moapa Valley on Monday.
“We got huge minutes from Evan Martin,” Todd Allen said. “I was hoping we would, because it was his first time going up against a big kid. I thought he played big for us.”
The Bulldogs also got big minutes off the bench from senior guards Joe Marshall and Taj Cole.
Marshall had 13 points, including six straight to start the fourth quarter and help Centennial extend its lead to 50-35.
Cole had just two points, but Todd Allen praised his defense.
“Joe Marshall came off and made some good shots for us, and Taj Cole gave us some good defensive minutes,” Todd Allen said. “He was a good spark for us.”
Aaseem Dixon added 18 points and Marcus Allen scored 11 for Centennial.
Devonte White led Chaparral with 19 points and eight rebounds. Luis Gomez had 10 points, and Kirschbaum had 11 rebounds and three blocked shots.