After a tough loss against the St. Lawrence (K) Vikings on Friday night, Centennial Colts men's basketball head coach Trevor Challenger wanted his team to focus on three things heading into Sunday's game against the Canadore Panthers.
"Execution, effort and communication," Challenger said.
The team responded- and in a big way.
Behind Marko Curic's 25 points and 17 rebounds, the Colts (9-4) got back into the win column with a 78-66 victory over the Panthers (5-9). Five players scored in double figures for the Colts.
Curic also led the team with four blocks while Paul (LC) Walwyn provided a steadying presence with 18 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Josh Mcfarlene had 13 points and led the team with seven assists while Malique Hyde and Alex (AC) Hagoriles had ten points each. Hagoriles also had a game high four steals in the victory.
Centennial forced Canadore into 24 turnovers while limiting them to 32.4 per cent from the field and 16.7 per cent from beyond the arc. The Colts also had seven steals, ten blocks, and moved the ball well with 18 assists despite being outrebounded 51-44.
The game did not start off well for the Colts as they were down 24-13 after the first quarter as the Panthers closed the quarter on a 14-0 run.
Coach Challenger said it's been a season long struggle when it comes to starting off fast.
"All season we've struggled in the first quarter," Challenger said. "Once we get our flow and pace of our style of basketball, we're right back in the game."
However, Centennial responded with a 13-0 run to start off the second quarter, capped off by an incredible four point play from Walwyn. The Colts later broke a 30-30 tie and went on a 9-0 run and eventually led 45-39 at the half, outscoring them. The Colts kept the Panthers at arm's length for the rest of the game.
"The game of basketball is all about runs," Challenger said. "We knew Canadore would be tough so I told the guys to relax and let's chip away one basket at a time."
Coach Challenger made a change to the starting lineup and put Jason Dennis in the starting lineup. The Colts head coach put in Dennis for his defensive intensity.
"Jason Dennis was put in the starting lineup because of his defence, energy and athleticism," Challenger said. "We wanted him to lock down their shooters and provide us with second chance shots on the offensive end."
Challenger also credited his starting lineup for bringing them back into the game on both ends.
"The starting lineup executed both offensively and defensively; they've been working together all season on looking for better matchups," Challenger said. "They did a great job capitalizing on that."
The Colts have more than a week off before a home game against the rival George Brown Huskies, who are 12-1 on the season. Although Centennial gave George Brown their only loss, Challenger says that his team shouldn't get too confident but also notes that the week off will help the team with injuries.
"The week off will give guys a chance to rest and recover nagging injuries so that they're fresh for next week's game," Challenger said. "GBC is #1 in the OCAA East, #4 in the OCAA and #9 in CCAA. We will need a total rebounding and defensive effort; we also need to lock down GBC leading scorer Ajahmo Clarke and sharpshooter Dejazmatch (DJ) James."
Up Next: A rival game at the Athletic and Wellness Centre against the George Brown Huskies on Wednesday Feb. 1 at 8:00 pm.