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Young guards help Lions win

International earns road win over Centennial

By Winners OnlyPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 3 min read
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(Photo: International's Michael Tucker guards Centennial's Tristian Moore)

The 2023-24 season has been a bit of a rough one so far for both Centennial High School and International High School boys basketball squads.

On Jan. 9, International made the journey hoping to improve its 2-5 start, while Centennial was working to better its 3-9 record. Centennial was even in the North Division of the Columbus City League, at 2-2, International came in at 0-4 in conference play.

After leading for most of the first quarter, Centennial fell behind as International senior point guard DeAndre Johnson got a steal before getting an assist as he found freshman center Pharoahe Zaire by the basket who scored a layup just before the buzzer to put the Lions up 15-13.

International's roster is filled with inexperienced sophomores and freshmen. Zaire entered the game averaging 13 points per game but finished the day with just seven points. On this night, it was his fellow first year varsity players who helped carry the load, as sophomores Michael Tucker, Abdoulaye Coulibaly and Cahleel Willis provided their most poised performances of the year to support Johnson and star forward/center KJ Jones in a gritty 54-50 win.

Tucker was important with bringing the ball up the court and scoring when necessary. He also was his team's top perimeter defender of the night. Coulibaly hit a rare three for International who successfully attacked the paint and was rewarded with free-throw attempts. Coulibaly also hit a late game free-throw which was important. Willis made a big defensive play at the end of the third quarter which many people may have missed. He simply stepped out in front of a shooter and took a good look away.

Centennial's offense is mostly about shooting open threes. International has had a hard time defending the three-point shot but to Centennial's surprise, the Lions figured out how to force the host Stars off the three-point line into tough shots against the 6-9 Jones and 6-9 Zaire.

At the end of the night we attempted to get point leaders from both teams. There was only one scorekeeper available, who identified himself as a coach at Centennial. He refused to share the information, so we could not report official point totals from either team.

Girls Basketball

Kayla Houston

Centennial 65, International 23

While we were denied scoring leaders for the Centennial boys program, the girls team actually shares their scores and scoring leaders on Instagram and promptly enters its stats on MaxPreps. Led in scoring by Kayla Houston, the girls of Centennial (10-1) went on the road and stopped International. Houston scored a season high 28 points to go along with four steals and three assists. She is averaging 18.1 points over her past six contests.

Centennial center Aza Corbett is playing excellent basketball this season. She contributed to the win with 19 points and 20 rebounds. This was her third game with 20 or more rebounds this season.

College Basketball Scores

Jan. 9

No. 25 Texas 74, Cincinnati 73

Texas (12-3, 1-1) travelled to defeat new Big 12 Conference foe Cincinnati 74-73. Forward Dylan Disu scored 33 points as he knocked down 4-of-10 triples. Disu started his season with 17 points in a win over LSU. The next game he scored 11 in another victory against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Over the next three games Disu scored nine points in each appearance. Tuesday night was an explosion by Disue as he shot 13-23 overall. He also had si boards, four steals and two blocked shots.

Jan. 7

Cleveland State 88, Northern Kentucky 85 OT

Despite being out-shot 46.6 percent to 39.2 percent, host Cleveland State held off Northern Kentucky in Horizon League competition. The winning Vikings got two double-double efforts. Forward Tristan Enaruna had 24 points with 12 rebounds and five assists and his teammate guard Tae Williams had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

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