Centennial’s girls didn’t really need a refresher course on how to play against Liberty.
The Bulldogs remembered all too well shooting miserably, but surviving for a season-opening win a little more than a month ago.
And it served as the perfect motivation Saturday.
Despite a bit of a slow start, host Centennial made 20 of 38 shots and handled the Patriots, 62-41 in the championship game of the Las Vegas Holiday Classic.
The Bulldogs led only 11-7 after one quarter, but increased the margin to 29-17 at the half and 47-25 after three quarters.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well the first time against them the first time, and we used that as motivation,” said Centennial coach Karen Weitz, whose team was 14 of 82 from the field en route to a 53-42 win over Liberty last month. “Playing six games in three days is tough, especially the two games we had today. But the kids responded against two quality teams.”
Centennial (14-2) held off pesky Reno, 54-49 in the semifinals earlier Saturday and still had plenty left in the tank to snap Liberty’s 11-game winning streak.
Paige Barber had 17 points, and Tamera Williams added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs.
“They (Centennial) took away our inside game,” said Liberty coach Rich Santigate. “We are playing at a high level right now, but today Centennial played better. Hey, two of our five losses are against them, so we are making strides.”
Sydney Clark and Kealy Brown had eight points each for Liberty (12-5), which made just 11 of 35 from the field. Centennial held Paris Strawther, the Patriots’ top inside threat, to six points.
Centennial’s Jada Brown was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Among those named to the all-tournament team were the Bulldogs’ Barber and Breanna Workman, Liberty’s Clark and Strawther, Coronado’s Sofie Cruz, Western’s Capricia Pierce, Valley’s Gabby Cabanero, Desert Oasis’ Sammi Tso, and Arbor View’s Ariona Gill.
Centennial 54, Reno 49 — Barber drained five 3-pointers and had 15 points to lead the Bulldogs by the Huskies in a rematch of last year’s Class 4A state semifinal.
Williams had 12 points and nine rebounds, and Brown added 11 points for Centennial, which hit three key free throws in the final 39 seconds to ice the win.
Savannah Schulze hit five 3s and finished with 15 points to lead Reno. Shalen Shaw added 10 points for the Huskies.
Liberty 39, Granite Hills (Calif.) 32 — Tae’lor Monroe had 10 points, and the Patriots used a 10-3 run in the second quarter and held the Eagles to two fourth-quarter field goals on the way to the win.
Skylar Williams led Granite Hills with 18 points.
Coronado 49. Douglas 44 — Cruz tallied 12 of her 22 points in the fourth quarter to guide the Cougars past the Tigers.
Valley 48, Western 27 — Cabanero notched 13 points to help the Vikings down the Warriors.
Taylor Payne added 10 points for Valley, which led 29-15 at the half.
Destiny Gonzalez led Western with 10 points.
Dimond (Alaska) 63, Arbor View 59 — Sierra Afoa scored 16 points, and the Lynx recovered to beat the Aggies after squandering a 14-point lead.
Aminata Cole added 14 points for Dimond, which limited the Aggies to just one field goal in the final five possessions.
Gill paced Arbor View with 23 points.
West Anchorage (Alaska) 57, Shadow Ridge 34 — Chanel Bookert scored 14 of her 22 points during a 22-4 first-quarter run that sent the Eagles past the Mustangs.
Brandii Starks led Shadow Ridge with 18 points.
Spanish Springs 59, Desert Oasis 34 — Lyndsey Anderson had 17 points, and Riley Holladay scored 12 to lift the Cougars past the Diamondbacks.
Tatiana Kearn had 13 points, including three 3-pointers for Desert Oasis, which scored only two second-quarter points.