With the title game tied at 56 on Saturday, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) had possession with the seconds ticking off the clock. A made basket would cement the championship and end Centennial’s (Corona, Calif.) two-year run. A stop would allow Centennial to get a final look.
St. John Bosco never got a shot off. Centennial’s defense, which has been a fixture of its run, forced a pass across the lane. Senior Aaron McBride jumped it and took off.
The 6-foot-7 Loyola Marymount commit tipped the pass, retrieved it at half court, and took off inside his free throw line for a dunk. Half a second after his slam rattled the rim, the buzzer sounding, ending the 58-56 contest with another Centennial CIF-SS Open Division championship.
What an ending. Centennial 58, St. John Bosco 56 on an Aaron McBride steal and dunk with no time left. pic.twitter.com/KZHjkO5aH6
— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) February 26, 2023
Centennial 58, St. John Bosco 56 (final). pic.twitter.com/tppEFVQvnc
— Eric-Paul Johnson (@CallMeEPJ) February 26, 2023
McBride finished the game with 18 points on 9-for-11 shooting to go with 11 rebounds, according to the Los Angeles Times.
This championship makes Centennial the first CIF-SS team to win three Open Division championships in a row, according to the Times. In 2020-21, Centennial went 21-2 en route to the title; the Huskies followed that season with an absolutely dominant 33-1 run in which they did not lose to a Californian team.
This year, their regular season featured some extremely good teams from around the nation. The Huskies beat 23-3 Camden (N.J.) and 29-3 Lake Highlands, both of whom are in the Super 25 national rankings; they beat 26-4 Winter Haven (Fla.) and 22-7 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas). In the playoffs, they beat Sierra Canyon, Notre Dame and Bishop Montgomery in pool play before the finale against St. John Bosco, the tournament sixth seed that took down Harvard-Westlake. Their three losses came by a total of nine points.
Once again, Centennial is the champion of the Open Division. In the win over Bosco, McBride was the hero with the game-tying shot and then the game-winning steal and bucket; Eric Freeny scored 18 points and Duke commit Jared McCain had 15, according to Scorebook Live.
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