Centennial boys basketball 3-peats as slam dunk champs

With the title game tied at 56 on Saturday, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) had possession as the seconds ticked off the clock. A made basket would have cemented the championship and ended Centennial’s (Corona, Calif.) two-year streak. The suspension would allow Centennial to take on a final look.

St. John Bosco never got hit. Centennial’s defense, which was a constant part of his performance, forced a pass through the lane. Senior Aaron McBride jumped it and took off.

The 6-foot-7 Loyola Marymount twirled the pass, took it back to half court and took off from the free throw line for a dunk. Half a second after his shot rattled the rim, the buzzer sounded, ending the contest 58-56 with another Centennial CIF-SS Open Division championship.

McBride finished the game with 18 points on 9-for-11 shooting and 11 rebounds, according to Los Angeles Times.

That championship makes Centennial the first CIF-SS team to win three consecutive Open Division championships, according to the Times. In 2020-21, Centennial went 21-2 en route to the title; The Huskies followed that season with an absolutely dominating 33-1 streak in which they did not lose to a California team.

This year their regular season featured some extremely good teams from around the country. The Huskies beat Camden (N.J.) 23-3 and Lake Highlands 29-3, both nationally ranked Super 25; they beat Winter Haven (Fla.) 26-4 and Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 22-7. In the playoffs, they defeated Sierra Canyon, Notre Dame and Bishop Montgomery in pool play before the final against St. John Bosco, the sixth seed in the tournament, which defeated Harvard-Westlake. Their three losses came by a combined nine points.

Once again, Centennial is the Open Division champion. In the win over Bosco, McBride was the hero with the game-tying shot and then the game-winning steal and bucket; Eric Freeney scored 18 points and Duke commit Jared McCain had 15, according to Live Score Book.

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