Centennial escapes with victory

Centennial escapes with victory

CHAMPAIGN — Zac Thompson’s three-pointer at the buzzer hit the corner of the rim, and Centennial escaped with a 51-49 Big 12 boys’ basketball victory against Normal Community on Friday night.

“Lucky,” Chargers coach Tim Lavin said after his team’s victory. “We turned the ball over too much, and to their credit, they started making shots.”

The Chargers were up by six at the half and stretched the lead to 14 midway through the third quarter and seemed to take control of the game.

The margin was 13 in the fourth when the Ironmen made their run. After back-to-back close-range baskets, Duane Farrington hit a three-pointer with 2:30 left to close the gap to 49-43. He made 1 of 2 free throws on the next Ironmen possession.

After trading empty possessions, Normal Community’s David Boyd made a three-pointer with 56 seconds remaining to make it a two-point game.

Centennial’s Steven Lee (eight points) snuck behind the Ironmen press for a layup and four-point lead. He then committed back-to-back fouls to place Alex Peacock on the line. He made both free throws.

The Chargers had a golden opportunity to put the game away on the next possession as Dedric Byrd was fouled with 20 seconds to go. He missed the front end of a one-and-one and set the stage for the Ironmen’s final possession. Farrington drove the lane and kicked to Thompson for a wide-open three that just fell short.

“Centennial outplayed us this game, obviously,” Ironmen coach Dave Witzig said. “We almost snuck out of here with a win. To beat a team like Centennial, you gotta play 32 minutes.”

Miscues down the stretch almost cost the Chargers.

“We just started rushing,” Centennial’s Michael Finke said. “They started pressing, and we started turning it over, making stupid mistakes. We came out with a never-give-up mentality, and that’s what we gotta keep going with.”

The Illinois signee led the Chargers with 17 points and five rebounds. Tyler Seibring had 18 points and seven rebounds for the Ironmen.

Spencer Brown

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