Centennial’s girls basketball team lost twice in the final 10 seconds to Bishop Gorman during the regular season.
The Bulldogs didn’t give the Gaels the chance to break their hearts a third time Friday.
Playing much more aggressively than in either of the regular-season meetings, Centennial got Gorman into early foul trouble and cashed in with a 20-3 second-quarter run on its way to a 67-35 rout of the Gaels in the Division I Sunset Region title game at Durango.
Centennial (26-4), which captured its third straight region crown, advances to the state tournament at 3 p.m. Thursday at Orleans Arena. Gorman (19-9) will meet Canyon Springs (23-6) in a play-in game at 4 p.m. Monday at Del Sol, with that winner advancing to state.
“It was a total effort from our kids,” Centennial coach Karen Weitz said. “We’ve been trying to get them to play hard, but there has been a lot of contentment. We tried to be a little more aggressive because I thought we had been too passive.”
The Bulldogs never trailed and saddled Gorman senior guard April Rivers with three fouls and freshman post Raychel Stanley with two in the first quarter.
With two of the Gaels’ offensive threats on the bench early, the Bulldogs rolled.
Teirra Hicks’ 3-pointer from the right wing with 6:39 left in the second quarter started the 20-3 run that gave Centennial a 35-13 lead with 1:53 left in the half.
The Bulldogs also owned the glass. After being outrebounded by Gorman in both of the regular-season meetings, Centennial had a 57-39 edge on the boards Friday, including 27 offensive rebounds.
“That’s what they’re capable of doing,” Weitz said. “We can’t do that as coaches. They have to bring it.”
Senior forward Jada Brown had 12 points and 17 rebounds, 10 of those offensive. Junior guard Tramina Jordan had seven points and 11 rebounds.
“We just came with more heart,” Brown said. “I felt like we wanted it more. The first two games we took for granted.”
Hicks added 12 points and Paige Barber 11 for Centennial, which did a wonderful job containing Gorman guards Tonishia Childress and Rivers.
Childress averaged 19.5 points and Rivers 13.0 in the regular-season meetings. On Friday, the duo went a combined 2-for-16 from the field. Rivers had nine points and Childress seven.
Megan Jacobs led the Gaels with 12 points.
“We’re right where we were last year,” said Weitz, whose team was upset by Reno in the state semifinals last season. “Hopefully, they’ll learn something from last year and come ready to play.”