Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009 | midnight
Ray Brewer and Steve Silver breakdown the boys' and girls' basketball playoff picture and debate the consequences of Desert Pines' use of an ineligible player.
Centennial did its best to keep pace with Bishop Gorman's offensive firepower, but in the end the Bulldogs simply couldn't keep up.
Senior guard Czar Robotham led the Gaels (24-5) with 19 points that included 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Senior Kylel Coleman scored 15 and junior John Loyd added another 11 as Bishop Gorman ended Centennial's season with a 74-56 victory in the Sunset Regional quarterfinals.
"I'll tell you what, (Bishop Gorman) can put some points up on the board in short spurts," said Centennial coach Greg Bohls. "We're down two and then we're down 10, 30 seconds later. They're pretty athletic and we had to have a perfect game defensively. I thought the kids played hard but you got to give Gorman credit they have some great athletes and they really did a great job."
The Bulldogs (16-14) were able to hang with the Gaels throughout an incredibly fast-paced start. After the Gaels opened the game on a 6-0 run, the Bulldogs connected on three early shots from long range that kept the score close at 21-19 after the first quarter.
Despite capitalizing on 4-of-8 3-point shooting in the first half, the Bulldogs cooled off considerably the rest of the way, ending the game on a 1-of-9 skid from the outside. After giving up some easy looks early, Bishop Gorman turned its focus to ball pressure and it showed as they forced 14 turnovers and contested nearly every Centennial shot.
"We had let downs defensively in the first quarter, we kind of let our guard down," said Bishop Gorman coach Grant Rice. "We let them hit some open threes and Centennial really came out ready to play. We really tried to focus after the first quarter on shutting them down defensively."
Senior Matt Holley led the Bulldogs with 16 points and seven rebounds. Junior Ben Vozzola followed close behind with 15 points. Senior guard Anil Kundanani connected on two 3-pointers in the first quarter but was held to 1-of-6 shooting in the second half and finished with eight points.
"Our intensity and ball pressure was the difference in the second half," Robotham said. "We knew we had to step up after that first quarter so we just brought that intensity."
The road to state for the Gaels now goes through Cheyenne, which defeated Sierra Vista 84-79 Tuesday night.
Despite the attention that's been focused on the Northwest League and Cheyenne this season, the Gaels haven't minded staying out of the spotlight and feel they're better for it.
"It's been an interesting year because people have been talking about the Northwest the whole time," Rice said. "That's allowed us to really focus on our game and try to get better. We've quietly just gotten better all year. Last year we peaked a little early but this year I'm happy with where we're at."
Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].