Centennial’s Hannah Herzig (11) scored the game-winning three-pointer with just seconds remaining in the game Tuesday. The Cougars defeated Park Center 73-71. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine
There’s a famous story about former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson unlocking Michael Jordan’s full potential as a superstar in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals. In a timeout, Jackson asked Jordan who was open, and Jordan, having regularly been double teamed throughout the game, responded that John Paxson was open. Jackson (emphatically) told him to pass Paxson the ball.
Paxson went on to score 20 points in that game, making some key buckets down the stretch to help the Bulls win the first of their six NBA championships.
Centennial, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A by Minnesota Basketball News, had its own version of that story play out on Tuesday night, as the dominant play of Jenna Guyer put the full attention of No. 9-4A Park Center’s defense onto her throughout the game, opening up plenty of shots for Guyer’s teammates, culminating in a 73-71 come-from-behind victory for the Cougars.
The Cougars (13-2, 2-1) were trailing by a point with 21.1 seconds remaining in the second half when they got the ball back from the Pirates (12-3, 3-1) after a turnover. That’s when Centennial coach Jamie Sobolik drew up a play for Guyer, who had dominated the game with 28 points and 19 rebounds.
“We had a special play that we were going to set up with the goal and the intent of getting Jenna a little high-low play down there,” he said.
The play didn’t work. The Pirates denied an entry pass to Guyer and they were not going to let her get the ball in the post. But there was a secondary plan.
The Cougars' Jenna Guyer (45) had a game-high 28 points as the Cougars beat the Pirates 73-71 at home Tuesday night. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine
Despite trailing for all but the final seconds of the second half, Centennial fought off Park Center at home to secure a dramatic 73-71 victory on Tuesday night.
The game was decided in the final minute, as the Pirates (12-3, 3-1) led 71-70 with 1 minute, 22 seconds remaining. They came out of a timeout looking to hold onto the ball, hoping that the Cougars (13-2, 2-1) would eventually have to foul.
The Cougars forced a turnover instead, and got to the free-throw line after a foul occurred on the ensuing fast break. Both free throws were missed, and the Pirates once again had a chance to try and kill the game. Instead, Centennial forced yet another turnover, giving the Cougars the ball back with 21.1 seconds on the clock.
The Cougars, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A by Minnesota Basketball News, tried to run a play for Jenna Guyer, who had a game-high 28 points and 19 rebounds, but the play broke down. This forced teammate Jodi Anderson to improvise, so she drove into the paint and then kicked the ball out to a wide-open Hannah Herzig, who buried the three-pointer to give the Cougars a two-point lead with 2.6 seconds left.
The No. 9-4A Pirates had no timeouts remaining, so they had to force a full-court shot that came up short.
Park Center was led by Aaliyah Ragulen, who had a team-high 25 points and nine steals. Adalia McKenzie also had a big impact, recording 21 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Anderson finished with 18 points and a team-high seven assists for Centennial, while Herzig added 15 points.
Park Center’s Aaliyah Ragulen (right) had a team-high 25 points Tuesday night in the Pirates' 73-71 loss to the Cougars. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine
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