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The Aquinas boys basketball team did what many haven’t been able to do this year, beat Centennial. The Monarchs used tough defense and clutch fourth-quarter baskets to vault themselves past the Class C2 No.5 Broncos 48-46.

“Our guys had better body language and better confidence tonight and were more willing to contribute,” Aquinas coach Kyle Eller said.

Aquinas scored the first points of the game, on a rebound and layup by Braden Smith.

Centennial answered with two free throws by Jackson Hirshfeld. Cooper Gierhan’s three points on the next possession put Centennial up 7-2.

The Broncos built their lead with a three-pointer by Heath Haberman and a rebound and layup by Hirshfeld. Midway through the second quarter, the Monarchs trailed 20-11.

Tyler Vavrina hit back-to-back three-pointers to get the score within one possession. Zack Zavodny’s layup while being fouled put Aquinas back out in front. After Zavodny sank the free throw the Monarchs led 22-20.

The lead changed hands often in the the third quarter. Joel Bargen’s layup tied the game at 30-all.

A jump shot and three-pointer by Dan Stara gave the Monarchs a 35-30 lead starting the fourth, a trey by Stara put them up by eight.

Centennial bounced back with baskets by Wyatt Ehlers and Hirshfeld. Hirshfeld’s three-pointer and Gierhan’s jump shot made it 43-41.

The Monarchs continued to attack and got a layup in transition by Daniel Reiter, and they sank enough free throws to close out the game.

Zavodny led Aquinas with 13 points, during the second quarter rally.  Vavrina added 11 points with three treys.

Centennial’s Hirshfeld had a game high 17 points, followed by Gierhan with 13. The Monarchs travel to Scotus Central Catholic in Columbus on Thursday night.

February 9 at Aquinas

Aquinas (13-8)- 6 19 10 13- 48

Centennial (18-3) 12 12 6 16-46

Scoring-Aquinas: Zavodny 13, Vavrina 11, Stara 10, Reiter 6, Smith 5, Jakub 3

Centennial: Hirshfeld 17, Gierhan 13, Bargen 7, Haberman 7, Ehlers 2

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