Former W.F. West point guard Kayden Kelly had three-straight trips to the charity stripe down the stretch against Tacoma at home Thursday. He made the most of them.
Kelly missed the back-end of his first two trips, and pulled down the rebound on both of them before knocking them back in. Then on his third trip, he drained both to give the Blazers a five-point lead late and an 81-76 game in Northwest Athletic Conference West Region action.
Coming off a loss to Aberdeen, Centralia coach Jason Moir had two things he wanted his team to improve on: free throws and turning the ball over.
Centralia College made 11-of-14 in the first half to take a nine-point lead at the break. But the Blazers made some critical turnovers in the second half to allow the Titans to crawl back in it.
“They chipped away, little by little,” Moir said.
Jimmy Harding led the Blazers with 29 points, and when he was double-teamed in the second half, other guys stepped up.
Jameel Morton added 15 points, Abraham Konana chipped in 12 and was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the first half and Kelly pitched in nine points.
Wendell Davis Jr. and Joey Grasso each scored five while Fano Arcoe-Hansen finished with four.
Centralia College improves to 3-5 overall and travels to Lower Columbia on Tuesday.
Najahia Forks scored a team-high 24 points and Centralia College blasted visiting Tacoma, 90-46, in NWAC West Region play Friday night.
The Blazers got off to a blazing start, draining five of their first seven 3-pointers to take an early 19-6 lead.
“We’ve been working on pushing the ball and working in transition,” Centralia College coach Caleb Sells said.
The Blazers led 43-25 at the half before former W.F. West star Erika Brumfield exploded for the first seven points of the second half for either team. Centralia College never looked back.
Brumfield finished with 15 points on the night, while Rochester alum Lexie Sederburg had 11 and Payge Rose chipped in 10.
“It was a very balanced scoring effort,” Sells said.
The Blazers improve to 4-3 overall and travel to rival Lower Columbia (4-1) on Tuesday.