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December 21, 2011

Basketball at its Best

by The Centinal

By:  Alex Wallner Sports Editor

With the season progressing forward, both the girl and boy basketball teams at Centennial are making great strides in their very young season.  The boys, who came off a victory against Mattoon High School on December 9th, are looking to rebound from a very slow start.  Finishing second to last in the annual Lincoln Holiday Tournament, the Chargers will look to regain their form against conference foe, Urbana on December 16th, a non conference game against Thornton Township High School on December 17th and the also annual, State Farm Classic, which begins on December 27th and runs through December 30th.  The games will be held at the Illinois Wesleyan Shirk Center at 6:00, with the Chargers playing the Mesa, AZ Jackrabbits.  December is a crucial month for the Chargers, testing to see how they can do against other schools out of conference and those that the team might have to face come playoff time.

The Lady Chargers are a much different story though, as the team, who hadn’t lost a single starter from last year’s regional championship team, are off to a hot start.  The undefeated Lady Chargers opened the season on a good note, winning the Blue Star Classic, which the Lady Chargers had won the previous season and cruised with wins over Danville, in the Blue Star championship game, Decatur Eisenhower, and Mattoon in previous outings.  The Lady Chargers are extremely competitive and undoubtedly the favorites to win the conference early on in the season.  With an outstanding junior class, which features, Katelynn Martinez, Chantal Meacham, and the reigning Big 12 player of the year, Chelsea Cross, the Lady Chargers are not only looking to win the conference, but go even deeper when March comes around.

Both squads are deep and young, making both of them threats to do damage not only in the conference, but out of conference as well.  On the boy’s side, with the returning Devin Carter, the Chargers will be looking to get a much needed boost from someone who can play three out of the five positions on the floor, something that the team hasn’t had since the Rayvonte Rice days.  The team is very young, but has a lot of experience as well.  With a senior class that includes the mentioned Devin Carter, Taylen Alexander, and Austin Judy, who gives a much needed spark off the bench.   Also with the mix of other younger players, such as Phillip ‘Bam’ Wright, Michael Finke, and Dustin Walls, the Chargers have a lot of confidence going into the conference season.  By taking one step at a time, they can achieve that goal of winning another conference championship.

When asked if the team would progress over the young season, sophomore, Finke said, “Yes, with out a doubt we will.  We are young but we have a lot of skill and potential.  I’m looking forward to see how good we will get and compete.”  Confidence is the most important thing to have when you are trying to compete for something as big as a conference championship in a conference with a great amount of talent.  Finke was then asked  how could the team do against the talent of Normal Community, the favorite to win the conference and Central by replying, “We will compete with Central.  It should be a really good game.  Every year the games between us and them are always close no matter what the record is of both teams.  Also, Normal should be a great game as well.  I don’t really know much about them, but from what I have heard they will be a pretty tough opponent.”  Also crucial for any team in that to be great, you have to beat the good teams.  Finally, Finke was asked if the team had a chance to win the conference, by which he responded, “Yes I do.  We just have to keep working hard and we will see what happens.”  The confidence to be a good team and the confidence to know that you can win are important for any successful program, especially at Centennial.

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