Close through three: Raccoons pull away from Centennial in final quarter
FRISCO -- Centennial and Frisco went back and forth for the first three quarters of Friday night's district showdown at Frisco.
However, the Raccoons pulled away when it mattered most, winning a 58-46 contest after outscoring the Titans 20-9 in the final eight minutes.
"We finally got a little bit of offensive movement," said Andrew Steele, Frisco head coach. "That can be hard to do against [Centennial's] zone."
The Titans began the game with a strong first quarter behind the hot hand of senior Ross Spain, who scored 13 of his game-high 18 points in the frame.
"It's too bad his teammates didn't make that count," said Michael Scarbrough, Centennial head coach. "We didn't have anyone else step up for us."
Spain's sharp shooting allowed the Titans to carry a 17-9 advantage into the second quarter, despite no other Centennial player scoring more than two points during that span.
With Frisco clamping down on defense, the Raccoons wasted little time regaining the lead and used a 12-2 run to begin the second that took only 2:40 off the clock. The run was fueled largely from the bench of Frisco, with four of five starters sitting to begin the second frame.
"Our bench definitely picked us up," Steele said. "The guys that came in off the bench really gave us a lift."
The two teams would play back-and-forth basketball for the remainder of the half, allowing Frisco to carry a 27-24 lead into the locker room.
The Raccoons then changed things up in the final two quarters and went with a full-court press that created several easy baskets in transition.
"It's still not anywhere near where I want it to be," Steele said. "If anything though, it got our kids to move up and down the floor."
Frisco's press built a 34-28 lead midway through the third and just when it looked as if the Raccoons may pull away, the Titans got right back into the game with a pair of 3-pointers from Spain and senior Jacob Bratcher.
The second of the two shots made it 34-34 with 2:05 remaining in the third. The Raccoons eventually grabbed a 38-37 lead though after a pair of free throws from senior center Ryan Horton with no time on the clock.
That's when the Raccoons built a safe lead after beginning the final frame on a 14-7 run behind several takeaways created from the team's defensive pressure.
"We just gave them a lot of easy baskets off turnovers," Scarbrough said. "We knew that would be one of the keys coming into the game."
Frisco's Jaylon Cleveland led the fourth-quarter charge by sinking a pair of shots from beyond the arc to give him eight of his team-high 11 points in the quarter.
Guard Julian Stephens became the only other Raccoon in double figures with 10 points, while Kevin Stephens added nine of his own.
Spain was the only Centennial player in double figures with no other Titan scoring at least eight points.
The win improves Frisco's season mark to 13-8 and 2-1 against District 9-4A counterparts. The Raccoons will look to stay above .500 against district foes on Tuesday by playing host to Heritage in an 8 p.m. contest.
Meanwhile, the Titans fall to 10-9 on the year and will look to improve their 1-2 district mark at home Tuesday against The Colony.
"There's not any bad teams in this district," Scarbrough said. "We've got to take advantage of these opportunities we have right now."