By Chris Yow
SPRING HILL — Four of the Summit football players returned to competition quickly when they stepped onto the basketball court Tuesday night. Those players, just four days removed from earning a state championship on the gridiron, wasted no time in trying to help their basketball team to a victory.
Unfortunately for those players, Centennial had other plans and came away with a 51-41 District 11-AAA win on the road.
Tre Hunter and Graham Schneider got the call to start for the Spartans, and played well considering the lack of practice time, according to coach Jim Fey.
“The effort they gave me was tremendous,” he said. “But in the same sense, they didn’t really know what they were doing. We didn’t get summer practice and a lot of other things we needed because of COVID. It’s just difficult right now.”
Many of the players who have played this season for Fey would likely be playing junior varsity, but with the lack of personnel those players have been asked to play a big role for Fey’s team. Those players’ lack of familiarity with Fey and his style, coupled with a lack of practice time, has not been a winning formula to this point.
“I’m just trying to find some offense we can actually execute,” Fey said. “I’m not looking for athleticism to get the job done. It’s not a discredit to them, it’s just they haven’t played for me.
“Now, they’re playing for me and trying to step up and find their niche, but it’s a struggle because they don’t have the experience.”
Centennial certainly had a more experienced roster, led by Patrick Garrett, a senior point guard.
“I love Patrick,” Fey said. “He’s a really good player, and I thought Alex Pollard did a really good job defending him for most of the game.”
The Cougars took a 14-7 lead in the first quarter behind six points from Garrett, who finished with just 13 points in the game.
Summit cut the lead to 14-10 on a Jace Kirby 3-pointer, but it was all Cougars from then until halftime where they took a 23-16 lead to the locker rooms.
Coming out of the break, Centennial pushed their lead to 30-16 before a Hunter putback broke the 7-0 run. Hunter was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw. Summit was 1-for-4 in the frame from the charity stripe.
With just over four minutes to play in the third quarter, Summit turned up the pressure on defense, forcing a turnover and getting a layup to energize the team. Those were the first points off a turnover in the game, however, for the Spartans, which finished with just six points off turnovers for the game.
Conversely, Centennial converted 23 points off 21 Summit giveaways.
The Cougars then iced the game from the foul line, where they were good on 7-of-11 in the fourth quarter. Trayvon Barbarry was 5-of-6, helping him to lead all scorers in the game with 14 points.
Spartan women dominate defensively in win: Summit held Centennial’s girls to just a pair of field goals in the first half — both in the first quarter — and dominated the boards en route to a 48-22 win to open district play.
Delaney Noe was hot from downtown, knocking down a trio of treys to help her team to victory with a game-high 13 points.
Summit started the game on a 9-0 run and never looked back. The Spartans had 15 point from offensive rebounds and allowed a total of zero second chance points for the Cougars in the game.
“Any time you can limit their possessions by blocking them off the glass and trying to keep the ball in your hands, you are going to maximize your chance to win,” Summit coach John Wild said. “I thought we did a good job getting some second chance points, and did a decent job taking care of the ball.”
Eastern Illinois signee Ellie Colson had 10 points for the Spartans, eight of which came off the offensive glass.
Summit hit five 3-pointers in the game, including Noe’s three, and Wild was proud of the team’s effort to find the open shots along the perimeter. Even if that isn’t his team’s most desirable outcome of a possession.
“They’re in a zone, and we got great ball reversals and good movement. As the season goes along, we have to get better at shooting on the perimeter,” he said. “Our kids are really unselfish, and they move the ball well. Our shooting will get better as time goes along.”
Summit also forced 15 first-half turnovers, which led to 17 points, but the aggressive defense also came with some fouls. Wild wasn’t nearly as concerned with those miscues while his team was converting the turnovers the pressure caused.
“We’re not the most athletic, but our kids have a good understanding about positioning and rules, and they do a decent job on the ball and one pass away,” he said. “We get in the gaps and give a lot of help. We want to keep everybody in front and make them take contested perimeter shots and then block them out.”
The win is one Wild and his team will take and build upon as the Christmas break approaches. The veteran coach knows that December wins are great, but improvement must be made before tournaments begin.
“We didn’t have a spring or a summer; we fly into this year and there are some teams six weeks behind,” he said. “Basketball’s a tournament game, and that’s what we’re pushing for.”
Summit girls 48, Centennial 22
C 6 2 8 6 — 22
S 15 12 12 9 — 48
Centennial (22) — Lauren Johnson 3, AJ Lein 3, Katie Rock 3, Harper Kline 3, Sheraton Foster 8, Andie Kelley 2
Summit (48) — Trinati Harris 2, Delaney Noe 13, Claudette Runk 10, Cydney Wright 6, Ellie Colson 10, Jaiden Ramzy 2, Nicole Rizane 5
3-pointers — Centennial 3 (Lein, Rock, Kline), Summit 5 (Noe 3, Runk, Rizane)
Centennial boys 51, Summit 41
C 14 9 16 12 — 51
S 7 9 9 16 — 41
Centennial (51) — Trayvon Barbarry 14, Patrick Garrett 13, Luke Westmorland 5, Lincoln Aholt 10, JP Poullard 2, Matt Busing 3, Chase Thomas 4
Summit (41) — Andrew Smith 7, Bradley Stewart 6, Tre Hunter 6, Jace Kirby 4, Aden Byrd 1, C.J. Jones 3, Marcus White 3, Graham Schneider 5, Alex Pollard 3, Davis Sain 3
3-pointers — Centennial 3 (Garrett, Westmoreland, Busing), Summit 5 (Stewart, Kirby, Jones, Pollard, Sain)
All photos by Chris Yow / SM-Tn Sports