by: THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - Centennial's Gabbi Schmitt battles on the boards against St. Mary's Holly Fuhrer during the Blues' 61-43 win Wednesday night.

PORTLAND — A major upset appeared within reach Wednesday night when the Centennial girls basketball team went into the locker room with a one-point lead over No. 8-ranked St. Mary’s Academy.

But the host Blues hit their first five shots of the second half, prompting Centennial coach Jeff Stanek to call a quick timeout after St. Mary’s guard Martina McCowan hit a pull-up jumper from the free-throw line.

The brief break in the action did little to slow St. Mary’s, which went on to win 61-43. The Blues continued their onslaught by pounding the ball inside to 6-foot center Tyschal Blake. When Centennial’s defense sagged into the paint to surround Blake, the St. Mary’s guards were left with open looks around the perimeter.

“We went where we had the advantage in the second half, getting the ball into the post and making their defense work,” Blues’ coach Art Rojas said.

McCowan led the charge with 11 points in the third quarter, finishing back-to-back fastbreaks and following that with a 3 from the corner to make it 50-32 Blues heading into the fourth quarter.

Centennial relied on the long ball early in the game, taking a 9-6 lead four minutes in when Megan Dailey swished a shot from two steps beyond the arc. The Eagles maintained the hot hand with 3s from Melissa Dailey and Leann Phanakhone for a 17-10 lead that prompted the Blues to call timeout late in the first period.

Look for extended game coverage in the Friday, Jan. 11, edition of The Outlook.

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