BY BARRY WONG
The date was February 22, 2013. The scoreboard read 69-43. It was a loss.
“We think about every day. We talk about it every day,” senior guard Khalil Thompson said.
The 2012-13 Centennial high school basketball season ended with a state championship loss to rival Bishop Gorman. The loss has fueled the Bulldogs to a 18-1 start this season, a surprise to many.
The Bulldogs graduated Marcus and Malcolm Allen, twins that accounted for 50.7 of Centennial’s 63.7 points per game last season. Both now play at Stanford, forcing others to step up coming into this season.
“Lots of kids don’t see a championship game in their lifetime,” Centennial head coach Todd Allen said. “It’s important for them to take that (the experience) and run with it.”
(STORY CONTINUES BELOW)
It’s been a balanced scoring attack this season, with four players averaging double digits. Thompson, now the team’s point guard, is averaging 14 points and nearly four assists per game.
“He’s pretty motivated. He just wants to win games.” Allen said. “He wants to take us a little farther if he can.”
As the Allen twins moved on, Centennial received a big-time reinforcement in freshman Troy Brown, a 6-foot-5 talent that’s already received a scholarship offer from UNLV.
“We tell Troy that you’re a freshman, but you’re not a freshman,” Allen said.
Brown leads the team in scoring (14.8), rebounding (10), assists (3.9) and steals (3.2), not a shock to his veteran teammates.
“He’s a quick learner,” Thompson. “He’s part of the leadership too.”
Allen has relied on both Thompson and Brown to be the Bulldogs’ floor general in games this season. He says the mix of veterans and younger players coming together has been one of the main reasons for the team’s success so far. Senior Ed Davis is averaging 11.2 a game, while junior Garett Scheer is scoring 10.3 a contest.
This year’s team is averaging four more points a game than last year’s sqaud. But, despite those offensive numbers, Allen credits his team’s defensive and rebounding effort in keeping the Bulldogs in games.
“We’ve got a lot of room to improve, and it’s still a long season,” Allen said.
A big litmus test is next Wednesday, when Centennial travels to Bishop Gorman to face the Gaels for the first time since the state title game.