Schilb, Makabu lead Centennial past Danville

Jan. 6—DANVILLE — Friday night's boys' basketball matchup between Centennial and Danville had all signs pointing toward a close, hard-fought game that would go down to the wire.

The Chargers beat the Vikings 70-63 on Nov. 21 as part of the Lincoln Thanksgiving Tournament.

Going into Friday, however, Centennial had lost two straight games by single digits, and Danville was fresh off a Mac Jelks Invitational win, hungry for some revenge on its Big 12 Conference rival.

Instead, the visiting Chargers took control early and went home with a 58-42 win, asserting its defensive will on Danville's top two scorers in Diddy Robinson and Devan Larkin.

"I'm proud of how we played," Centennial coach Tim Lavin said. "I thought we played really well defensively. We did a fantastic job on Robinson and Larkin. They really hurt us last time. ... We frustrated them, and we were pretty good defensively."

It also didn't help the Vikings (5-10, 0-3 Big 12) that they were a little short-handed. Another player who gave Centennial trouble earlier this season was Jerry Reed, a regular starter who is in concussion protocol. Danville was also without Darius Jay and Eric Bryant.

The Chargers (11-5, 3-0) took advantage, slowly but surely building a 33-21 halftime lead.

The third quarter was when Centennial really took off. Todd Makabu got things started with a pair of free throws and immediately followed with another two points the next time down the court. The ensuing defensive possession, Voldy Makabu stole the ball near midcourt, sprinted ahead of the field and dunked it home. All of a sudden, the Chargers had an 18-point lead, which grew to 21 by the end of the quarter.

"It just feels good when we're playing together like that," Todd Makabu said. "As soon as we get momentum, we try to keep pushing and keep the scoring going."

That was the perfect moment for the Vikings to accept their fate, but that's not what they had in mind. C.L. Dye made the first bucket of the fourth quarter, and he hit a three-pointer a couple possessions later to trim the deficit to 16 and force a Centennial timeout.

"That's what I try to pride them in, playing a full game and never giving up," Danville coach Durrell Robinson said. "You never know what could happen in the game of basketball. You've got to keep going the whole time. I think we did a good job of that in the fourth quarter, but it was too late."

The Chargers slowed their pace and played keep-away for the last few minutes of the game, preventing the Vikings from getting any closer.

Jadin Schilb led the Chargers with 16 points, followed by Todd Makabu with 12 points and Kayden Peat with 10 points. Dye paced the Vikings with a game-high 18 points, and Persiris Menifield added 10 points.

Friday marked the start of a crucial stretch of games for both teams. For Centennial, it doesn't get any easier as Big 12 action picks up.

The Chargers host state-ranked Normal Community on Tuesday and play at crosstown rival Champaign Central next Friday night at Combes Gym before hosting a quality Peoria Manual team on Jan. 16.

"This month is going to be our toughest month," Makabu said. "We're playing a lot of great teams, and we just need to stay focused."

For Danville, this is where Robinson finds out what kind of team he has. The Vikings can lie down and get discouraged by the losses, or they can respond and keep fighting like they did Friday night.

"We play a challenging schedule," Robinson said. "I believe in putting our kids on main stages. ... We're always geared toward competition, so hopefully, we improve as the season goes along because our goal is to be more together by the end of the season."