By CHIP CIRILLO | Photos by STEVE WHEELER
Ashland Hardin’s big night kept Centennial headed in the right direction.
The 6-foot sophomore center scored a career-high 17 points, leading the Lady Cougars to their fourth straight win with a 41-37 victory at Ravenwood on Tuesday night.
“She was the difference in the basketball game tonight,” Centennial coach Anthony Hill said. “Having a post presence is just so important and I thought Hannah Holloway complemented her nicely inside, as well.”
Malea Robertson added 10 points for the Lady Cougars (5-2, 2-0 District 11-AAA), who are still grieving over the death of Jim Cheek, a Centennial senior football and baseball player who was killed in a single-vehicle accident in Dickson County on Nov. 22.
“That was certainly something that hit our basketball team hard with four seniors, but we’re finally getting back in the groove and doing some things that it takes to beat good basketball teams,” Hill said. “That was devastating.”
Ravenwood (4-5, 1-1) narrowed the deficit to 38-37 on Catie Jett’s fifth 3-pointer, a career-high, with 2:02 left, but Centennial pulled away with three foul shots.
“They were very important,” Hardin said of the free throws. “It’s a big win. Yesterday in practice we were talking about it. Today on the bus we were so focused and we were just eager to get this win.”
Jett led the Lady Raptors with 15 points and Kiera Downey added nine. Downey, a junior, became the second Lady Raptor to reach 1,000 career points on Dec. 2.
“The first quarter we did really good attacking the basket and being aggressive, but we started to just back off the last three,” Jett said. “I don’t know why, but we just did.”
Ravenwood led 13-8 after the first quarter, but the Lady Cougars tied the score at 19 by halftime. Centennial used its aggressiveness to jump in the passing lanes for steals.
“I just think we didn’t have the same energy and focus that we did on Friday night,” Ravenwood coach Mariska Harris said of a win at Brentwood. “We didn’t take advantage of the first half when Centennial wasn’t attacking us as much in the 2-3 (zone defense).”
Centennial faces Antioch in the Overton Holiday tournament on Dec. 28.
Ravenwood hosts Hunters Lane in the Ravenwood Winter Classic on Friday.