Extra, extra: Titans defeat Liberty in second overtime
It took eight extra minutes to get it done, but Centennial came away from Frisco Liberty with another district win Tuesday, winning a 35-31 decision after two overtimes.
"We were very fortunate to get out of here with a win," said Michael Scarbrough, Centennial head coach. "This game was a test of our persistence and our relentlessness."
Liberty knotted the game at 30 apiece with 1:22 remaining in the fourth when junior guard Aaron Estes sank 1-of-2 shots at the charity stripe. The Titans then drained time off the clock until only seconds remained before senior Bryant Rucker made a move to the basket.
Rucker's midrange jumper didn't fall though, sending the game into its first extra period and giving the Redhawks another chance to upset the Titans.
With four minutes added to the clock, defense played a major theme for the remainder of the night.
Both teams played a stall-ball tactic in the extra quarter and Liberty ended up with possession in the final seconds.
However, the team couldn't get a shot on goal and each team settled for a second overtime after both squads failed to score a point in the frame.
"I'm not sure it was actually stall ball in those two overtimes," said Marcus Eckert, Liberty head coach. "There weren't a whole lot of points scored the entire game. It was just two really good defenses going at it."
With neither team getting many good lucks in the final minutes of the game, the contest was ultimately decided at the free-throw line.
Centennial senior post Alex Terrian drew a pair of fouls late in the game and was able to sink three free throws, while Estes scored Liberty's only point after regulation.
Estes did have a chance to tie the game late in the second overtime but his shot didn't fall and the Redhawks were forced to foul with less than one second remaining to seal the deal.
"From the fourth quarter on, it was a possession-by-possession game," Scarbrough said.
Leading all scorers in the game was Liberty freshman post Tyler Davis who poured in 20 points on the night.
"[Davis] played great tonight," Eckert said. "He played great defense in the paint and battled on the boards. He's starting to get more and more comfortable out there."
Davis was injured the first time Liberty and Centennial met, but the Titans likely won't overlook the big man next time the two teams play.
"He's a beast in there," Scarbrough said. "He takes up a lot of space and is a force on defense."
Senior Lewis Hill and Estes were the only other Redhawks that found the bottom of the net Tuesday. Hill scored all seven of his points in the second quarter while Estes tallied all four of his in the fourth frame.
For Centennial, it was Terrian leading the way on offense. The senior tallied 10 points for an offense that struggled shooting the ball for much of the night.
"Hats off to Scarbrough and his team," Eckert said. "They don't give you a lot of open shots and they did what they had to do tonight."
Terrian was joined by Rucker and guard Brett McDonald as the team's leading scorers. Rucker put in eight after scoring six in the opening quarter and McDonald added seven of his own in the game.
"That was an example of when you're not hitting shots and your defense bailing you out," Scarbrough said.
The Titans improved to 7-1 against District 9-4A counterparts this season. They will now prepare for another cross-town rival with Wakeland coming to Centennial Friday night at 8 p.m.
For Liberty, the loss was their seventh in district play. The team will look for their second win against 9-4A foes Friday at 8 p.m. when the Redhawks travel to Carrollton Creekview.