A near-perfect season threatened to end in a shocking defeat. Modesto Christian High drew level with the heavily favored Corona Centennial in the fourth quarter of the Open Division State Boys basketball championship game in Sacramento. The pressure on the huskies increased.
To no one’s surprise, it was 6ft 2 senior point guard Donovan Dent who responded to the challenge. Then he made three consecutive baskets, got two rebounds and had two assists. A rowdy crowd from Northern California at the Golden 1 Center suddenly became disoriented. Centennial walked away with a 59-50 win to finish a 33-1 season.
“We’re in the state championship game, we’re fighting, Modesto Christian is pushing us to the edge and Donovan is coming through,” said coach Josh Giles. “It was indicative of what he did for us. What an amazing conclusion to his Centennial career.”
For his consistency and excellence as a point guard this season and his diverse contribution, Dent was named Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year by the Los Angeles Times. He averaged 16.2 points and 6.6 assists. Dent got involved in New Mexico and played on the freshman team before becoming a college backup in his sophomore year and then excelling as a junior.
Dent said he acknowledges that some people didn’t see him as a top talent early in the season, but that just motivated him to “prove them wrong.”
He has. From start to finish, he orchestrated win after win with his ability to drive and flush, make open shots and come through when his team needed him. Centennial’s only loss was an away game in Duncanville, Texas. Giles said that was the only game Dent wasn’t at his best.
“Every time we’ve had a big game, he’s played extremely well,” Giles said. “Whenever we needed him to be at his best, he was at his best.”
With four returning starters, Dent said he’s confident about his teammates. “You can double me and we have four other options,” he said.
Dent left the court after winning the Open Division championship on March 12 knowing his high school career was over.
“A perfect end to his career,” Giles said.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/highschool/story/2022-03-20/donovan-dent-corona-centennial-boys-basketball-player-of-year Boys Basketball Player of the Year: Corona Centennial’s Donovan Dent