Centennial girls hoops team sews up district’s No. 2 seed with win over Boise

rroberts@idahostatesman.comJanuary 25, 2014 

Centennial guard Ayana Amaechi, right, and Boise guard Lydia Miles scramble for a loose ball Friday at Boise High. Centennial won 39-38. SEE MORE PHOTOS AT IDAHOSTATESMAN.COM/PHOTOGALLERIES

  • First-place Capital puts its unbeaten record on the line when it travels to second-place Boise. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m.

    The Eagles (13-0, 11-0) and Braves (11-2, 9-2) have met once this season, with Capital winning 50-34 on Jan. 4.

    Boise’s Sam Simpson, the leading scorer (21.4) and rebounder (10.7) in the 5A Southern Idaho Conference, injured his knee in the first quarter of that game and did not return. The 6-foot-8 senior forward will be back on the court for the teams’ second meeting.

    Capital is ranked No. 1 in the state media poll, and Boise is ranked No. 2.

    Rachel Roberts

For nearly all of the fourth quarter, girls basketball players on the Centennial High bench didn’t sit down.

Neither did their coach.

For the second game in a row, the Patriots kept their fans on edge, this time escaping a showdown at Boise High with a 39-38 victory Friday night.

The win assures the Patriots (16-2, 14-2 5A SIC) the No. 2 seed in the 5A District Three Tournament with two games remaining in the regular season. Boise (12-6, 10-6) drops to fourth.

“I know that at times we struggled with defense and they went on a big run, but at the end we came through,” Centennial coach Cassie Bro said. “They battled. They fought. They got rebounds when they needed to. We missed some free throws, but we continued to fight and we ended up getting the win.”

Centennial led 37-35 with 1 minute, 48 seconds remaining in the game after Tori Williams made a pair of free throws, pushing her game-leading total to 15 points.

That’s when the Braves made their move.

Centennial senior Grace Melgard fouled out, sending Boise’s Isabelle Hadden to the free-throw line, where she made 1-of-2 shots.

Freshman Mandy Simpson then put the Braves ahead 38-37 on a putback with a little more than a minute remaining.

“We just had to get that win,” Centennial sophomore Dominique Williams said. “We were under pressure, just kind of letting them do what they wanted, but then we got back to it. We woke up.”

Dominique’s turnaround jumper inside the key put the Patriots out front one final time, but not without some tense final seconds. The Braves got the ball across halfcourt on their ensuing possession and called a timeout with 13.5 seconds on the clock.

When the game resumed, Centennial freshman guard Ayana Amaechi was charged with her fifth foul while defending Boise guard Megan Lee at the top of the arc.

Lee went to the free-throw line in a double-bonus situation, but both shots were off the mark. Dominique stormed the hoop, corralled the rebound and drew a foul.

The Braves were over the foul limit, giving Dominique a one-and-one opportunity with 7.8 seconds left.

“Nique came through, man. She just wanted the ball,” Bro said. “She just really stepped up and our team responded.”

But Dominique’s shot missed, and Boise pushed the ball downcourt with a chance at the winning basket.

“It worked out for us that the pass was high and it went out of bounds,” Bro said. “Sometimes I just have confidence with our kids playing on the fly.”

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422,Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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