The biggest basket of the game at Centennial High School on Thursday night was the one made by Timmy. The one he threw in from his hip, off the board. You know, Timmy the third grader with the watch. The halftime basketball game was just what the Crimson needed last night, because in the second half, they played inspired, effective, blue collar basketball that brought them to their third win in a row, a 57-54 squeaker that wasn’t decided until Pierre Roddy’s 40 footer rattled in and out.
After trailing 15-10 with ten minutes to play in the first half, Centennial got its groove on and outscored the Crimson 23-8, to lead by 11 at the half. For the game the Cougars were a torrid 64% on 2pt FGs. Quinn Peterson got off early and scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half. Brycen Wojta had a hat trick of 3 pt FGs to keep the Crimson within striking distance.
As Timmy was eating his post-game hot dog, the Crimson went to work. They had a number of 3D baskets in the second half. Wojta would drive, draw the defense, and dish for easy hoops. His season high 10 assists were a direct result breaking down the defense and creating opportunities for Erik Olson and Grant Kaufman. Kaufman finished with a career high 14 points. Jake Wieneke’s motor was amped up as well, as he attacked the basket, made key steals and led the fast break. In the first 6 minutes of the second half, the Crimson outscored the Cougars 18-2.
The Cougars clawed (sorry) their way back in, as they capitalized on 3 straight Crimson turnovers. Josh DeWitt’s free throws, with 5 minutes to play brought them to within 1 at 48-47. Kaufman’s rebound and reverse layup broke a 52-52 tie. In the final minute, Maple Grove missed two front ends, got the offensive rebounds, but didn’t kill the clock. Centennial, who used their timeouts to stop the bleeding in the second half, had the ball in their backcourt with 5 seconds to play. Roddy had a good look, but for the second time in two games a buzzer beater missed the mark, and the Crimson found themselves at 3-1 in the Northwest Suburban, 3-3 overall.
Maple Grove scoring: Wojta 19, Kaufman 14, Olson 11, Wieneke 9, Barta 4.
The Crimson face Mounds View in the Bethel Tournament on 8 p.m. Dec. 27.