As Cody Weiss rolled across the floor for a loose ball, Centerville boys basketball coach Ryan Chiddister practically begged for a timeout, hoping Weiss could give the Bulldogs possession.
Chiddister never got it, but no matter.
Weiss took control, and rather than taking a somewhat-open 3-point shot, the Centerville senior hauled the ball across the court to wide-open teammate Eli Callahan.
It was that kind of battle Friday night at Centerville High School.
And that was the kind of hustle necessary to defeat recently crowned Randolph County champion Monroe Central.
The Bulldogs did just enough, erasing an early 11-point deficit then holding on for a 76-75 victory over the Golden Bears.
It was the second straight victory for the Bulldogs (5-5) and snapped a four-game winning streak for Monroe Central (9-4).
“They usually don’t let me shoot the ball, but I was like, ‘OK, should I shoot it?'” Weiss said. “I was thinking of a better option, and I hit it to our main shooter. He’s one of our best shooters on the team, so I was like, ‘He’s open. I’m (going to) hit him. Hopefully he drains it,’ which he did. And I’m glad he did.”
Callahan nailed the 3-pointer, giving the Bulldogs a 27-19 lead in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs led by as many as 10 points that half, 37-27, impressive after the Golden Bears scored the first 11 points of the game.
Sam Shaw hit a layup almost 4 minutes after tip-off to get the Bulldogs on the board, down 11-2, before Tyler Weaver hit a 3-pointer to get them within six.
Shaw scored four more points, Weaver five more and Weiss a game-tying 3 as the teams were tied 17-all after the opening frame.
“As upset as I was at our start, I was that happy with our comeback at that point,” Chiddister said. “We can’t spot teams 11 points and expect to come back every game, but we did tonight. We hit shots and played confident. Each win, we gain confidence, and that was a huge one from a confidence standpoint. To be down 11-0 and outscore a team like that the rest of the way, that’s impressive.”
Aaron Lewis gave the Bulldogs their first lead, 19-17, early in the second quarter. Weaver, Callahan and Matt Stamper each had 3s in the frame as the Bulldogs led 42-37 at halftime.
However the Golden Bears made another run in a back-and-forth third quarter.
Jacob Combs nailed a 3-pointer to tie the game at 44 and the Golden Bears took a 46-44 lead off a layup from Chase Bly.
Shaw tied it again with a pair of free throws, Cody Woolf gave the visitors the lead with a layup, Weaver gave Centerville a 49-48 lead with a 3, and Monroe Central scored the final five of the quarter to lead 53-49 after three.
Centerville regained the lead with a layup and a three-point play by Lewis making it 54-53 Centerville.
Stamper followed with a field goal and the Bulldogs never trailed from there.
The lead ballooned back up to nine, before the visitors made one last run.
A missed 3-pointer with about 10 seconds left was rebounded by Bly, who hit the putback at the buzzer for the final score.
“They started from the get-go,” Shaw said. “We were down 11, but we never gave up. And this game was huge, because we have a conference game tomorrow. And this conference team, they got beat by this Monroe Central team, and it’s going to be a tough game. I think we’ll come out tough tomorrow.”
Shaw had a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Weaver scored 14, Weiss 13, Callahan 12, Lewis 11, Stamper seven and Ricky Torres two.
Weiss and Callahan also had seven assists apiece, unofficially, while Callahan had six rebounds and Lewis five.
Centerville hosts Northeastern tonight in a boys-girls doubleheader starting at 6 p.m.
The games were rescheduled from early in the season due to the weather.
Centerville is 0-1 in TEC play; Northeastern is 0-0.
“We’re a lot more confident in what we’re doing,” Chiddister said. “I think the players are a lot more confident in what we’re asking them to do. The only way that you gain that confidence is by winning, and we’ve won the last two games. And I think that they’re starting to understand what we want from them and they’re playing well, so we’re more confident and we’re more organized and having more fun.”