By Gary Montgomery, Sports Editor –
Corona Centennial’s Boys Basketball Team represented the Inland Empire with dignity and the level of competitive fire we have come to expect from the area’s top high school sports programs. But, in the end, the task was just too great for the Huskies when Long Beach Poly’s Ryan Anderson pulled down 21 rebounds and scored 18 points to give Poly its 18th Southern Section Title and spoiled the Huskies’ bid for their first.
After knocking off perennial powerhouse Mater Dei on Thursday, Centennial Head Coach Josh Giles needed to dialup the best game plan of his career to keep the Jackrabbits from their 29th win of the season.
“Basketball is about taking something away, so we wanted to take away the inside and make them have to take the outside shots. But, they were making those outside shots and that made it almost impossible for us,” said Giles after the Game. “We wanted to make them into a jump shooting team,” continued Giles.
Poly’s front line was just too big for the Huskies. Led by Boston College bound Ryan Anderson, Poly’s domination on the glass was simply the difference. The 6’8” Senior forward had 8 offensive rebounds giving his team an 18 to 6 advantage on the offensive boards.
On the defensive end, Ryan’s 13 boards gave the Jackrabbits a 25 to 10 advantage on that end of the floor.
Huskies Senior Point Guard, Michael Caffey led all Centennial scorers with 17 points along with 7 assists.
“I had some opportunities to get into the lane and kick it out early. I thought we might build on that but they tightened up their defense and that wasn’t there anymore,” said Caffey.
Although Caffey, the Long Beach State bound senior point was the engine that drove the Huskies, Gelaun Wheelwright had 13 points and Dominique Dunning had 10 points. The Huskies were undersized and short-handed, playing only six players.
With 11 seniors on the team it could take a while to regroup but given the recent history of Centennials sports program, it’s a safe bet that they will be back.
G. Montgomery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org