The Wildcats celebrate after defeating Gainesville 64-52 to advance to the State Semis.

Torrid offensive second half leads to Centreville victory in Class 6 State Quarters

It took a half for the Centreville Wildcats to get used to playing in the state tournament. Once they did, they showed the Gainesville Cardinals why they deserved to be there, scoring 45 second half points en route to a Class 6 quarterfinal victory, 64-52.

It was certainly a playoff environment at Centreville on Tuesday night. The gym was mostly packed and had scores of students and loud Wildcats fans, eager to see their team perform in the state tourney for the first time. Early on, however, Gainesville was the better team, taking a 10-4 lead and then holding a 24-19 advantage at halftime.

The Wildcats didn’t look bad early on, they just didn’t look particularly sharp. Gainesville used its height advantage to batter the home team down low and on the boards. Plus, the Wildcats only shot 32% from the field in the first half, as the Cardinals forced Centreville to take some tough shots.

Centreville senior Jahniya Marion had all her points after halftime, and had six assists for the game.

Then, after half, it was a completely Centreville team that came on the court.

“The emphasis going into halftime was, we’ve kind of got our feet wet, we’ve never been here before,” said Centreville Coach Jo McLane. “We kind of settled in, the third quarter is our strongest quarter, and we just kind of took it to them.”

The Wildcats (23-3) started scoring immediately, scoring 11 points in the first three minutes of the third quarter to take a 31-28 lead. Not surprisingly, the Wildcats were sparked by their two first team all-Northern Region players, senior Jahniya Marion and junior Kennedy Parrott. Marion set the tone with her passing and ability to penetrate, while Parrott used her leaping ability to grab several offensive rebounds and finish at the rim.

Wildcats sophomore Sofia Caraus buried five three-pointers on the night.

They rarely missed in the second half, nor did sophomore sharpshooter Sofia Caraus. Caraus hit three of her five total three-pointers after the break. Everyone played well for Centreville after halftime, but Marion, Parrott, and Caraus combined for 37 second half points by themselves. The Wildcats as a team shot a blistering 65% from the field in the second half.

Gainesville (20-7) wasn’t bad on offense after halftime, but they simply couldn’t keep up with Centreville’s torrid offensive pace. Cardinals sophomore post Peyton White (20 points, 14 rebounds) was the beneficiary of a lot of high-low action, and senior Madison McKenzie added 14 total points. But the Cardinals simply didn’t hit from outside enough (4-25 from the arc) against the Centreville zone to keep pace.

Junior Kennedy Parrott led the way for Centreville on the evening, totaling 20 points.

Parrott led the way with 20 points for the Wildcats, who advance to play Manchester Friday in Richmond in the State Semifinals. Marion had 12 points, all in the second half, plus six assists. Caraus finished with 17 points, while sophomore Malia Siriwardene added eight points, and senior Hannah Wakefield six.

Senior forward Morgan Carpenter did not play for Centreville due to a concussion. Her status for Friday is unknown.

–Chris Jollay

all statistics are unofficial

SIRIWARDENE 3-6 2-2  8  0  2
JACKSON 0-0 0-0  0  4  1
MARION 5-14 1-2  12  1  6
PARROTT 8-14 4-4  20  7  1
WAKEFIELD 3-6 0-0  6  6  2
Caraus 6-9 0-0  17  4  1
Kang 0-2 1-2  1  0  0
TOTALS 25-51 8-10  64  22  13
Threes: Caraus 5-7, Marion 1-2, Siriwardene 0-1, Parrott 0-1
NHEK 4-8 0-0  10  4  3
McKENZIE 6-18 2-2  14  2  4
GILLIAM 1-3 0-0  3  0  0
WHITE 9-17 2-4  20  14  0
MAXWELL 1-5 0-0  2  4  3
Chhabra 1-7 0-0  3  1  2
Nemerow 0-2 0-0  0  2  0
Abraham 0-1 0-0  0  2  3
TOTALS 22-61 4-6  52  29  15
Threes: Nhek 2-5, Gilliam 1-3, Chhabra 1-6, McKenzie 0-11